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Inuvik in a bind as its natural gas energy source depletes

April 16, 2012

The community of Inuvik assumed the Ikhil natural gas well would supply their energy needs until the Mackenzie gas pipeline was built.

The town has been using natural gas since 1999 for most of its energy needs. About 90 per cent of homes in Inuvik as well as the hospital, Aurora College and all the town’s government buildings are heated with natural gas.

Unfortunately, the well’s final reserve report confirmed the remaining recoverable reserves are significantly less than originally anticipated. At current production rates, the pool has been estimated to have a likely reserve life of 1.2 years, with the possibility that reserves could last up to 2.3 years. However, as with any reserve analysis, uncertainty exists and the reserve life could be significantly less.

However, three partner companies which form Inuvik Gas say they won’t drill a new well without at least $60 million in taxpayer funding. The project would require the construction of a 25-kilometre pipeline to bring the gas from nearby Parsons Lake, which is halfway to the neighbouring town of Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T.


The prospect of paying twice as much for heating costs will be a hardship for the community. One would think that the territorial government would assist Inuvik with their new gas well project.