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Sahtu oil and gas potential

January 22, 2014

The central Mackenzie Valley is attracting increased drilling activity from a variety of oil and gas explorers.

The geologists are interested in two shale deposits in the central Mackenzie Valley: the Canol deposit and the Bluefish deposit. They are located at a similar depth 1-2.2 km.s underground. Without “fracking” the exploration or development would not be economical. A 2011 Call for Bids resulted in industry commitment to invest $534 million in testing 11 parcels of land within this area.

The Sahtu Dene Council has settled land claims and established self-government arrangements. The Sahtu Land and Water Board approved all the drilling activity and monitors the same.

On 1-Apr-2014 The Government of NWT is due to take over responsibility for Crown Lands from the federal government as part of a devolution package.


The Sahtu shale deposits hold great promise for economic development for the central Mackenzie valley. The fact that oil and gas exploration companies plunked down $500M just for the right to explore means that there is tremendous potential for oil and gas. The Sahtu area is a region of chronically high unemployment, so an injection of jobs and income would be welcome by these communities.