Nfld. & Labrador

No decision yet on N.L. refinery bid: proponent

The St. John's company hoping to build North America's first new oil refinery in a generation said Friday its future remains unresolved after a meeting of creditors.

The St. John's company hoping to build North America's first new oil refinery in a generation said Friday its future remains unresolved after a meeting of creditors.

Newfoundland and Labrador Refining Corp. has been fighting to retain bankruptcy protection from creditors.

Creditors met Thursday on a proposal NLRC has circulated to keep alive its $5-billion bid to build a refinery in Placentia Bay, in southern Newfoundland.

In June, Newfoundland Supreme Court granted creditor protection to Newfoundland and Labrador Refining, which has been fighting to find new financing for the project amid a global credit collapse.

In a "community stakeholder update," managing director Brian Dalton told community leaders and others that it has briefed creditors on its "continuing efforts to attract investment to the project, which have recently resulted in new expressions of interest."

NLRC, which has already obtained environmental approval for its plan to build a massive refinery, lost its financial backing earlier this year.

The company believes its proposal can allow the megaproject to ride out the world financial crisis, and until a period when it can find new financing.

Vote hits snag?

However, the vote on the proposal evidently hit a snag.

A memo issued on Friday said the independent trustee did not accept three of the claims submitted by creditors, either in whole or in part. The trustee's judgment is critical, as the size of the creditors' claims could determine how much say the creditors have in determining the future of the refinery project.

"The trustee determined that the objected claim amounts could be decisive to the result depending on whether they are ultimately accepted, partially accepted or disallowed," Dalton wrote.

The next step, Dalton wrote, will involve the trustee considering the claim further itself, or seeking direction from the courts.

Dalton said the meeting concluded without "a time line ... for this process," although he added it should "be resolved as expeditiously as possible."