KITIMAT, B.C. -- A proposal to build a $13-billion refinery in B.C. to process oil from the Northern Gateway pipeline has been criticized for its lack of support, but one B.C. city council is taking a closer look.

Councillors in Kitimat, the proposed western terminus of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline, say they could support the refinery plan floated by media mogul David Black, if the development meets certain conditions.

The guarded backing is the first since Black, the owner of several newspapers, including weeklies in B.C. and Alberta, announced the vision he thinks could save the proposed pipeline while bringing jobs and benefits to B.C.

Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan says if Black's refinery is environmentally safe and survives a review process, her council would condone it.

She says it could be good for economically-challenged Kitimat by bringing jobs to the north coast while avoiding the shipment of thick, tarry bitumen by tanker through B.C.'s treacherous coastal waters.

The premiers of B.C. and Alberta are currently fighting over the division of benefits from the proposed Enbridge (TSX:ENB) pipeline, with B.C. insisting that it will halt the project unless it receives more compensation for shouldering the environmental risks.