Image used for illustrative purpose only. The plant will be built near the Inuvik-Tuk highway. Meaghan Brackenbury/Cabin Radio
2 minutes read

The first compressed natural gas project in the Northwest Territories will be allowed to begin construction.

The first compressed natural gas project in the Northwest Territories will be allowed to begin construction.

The Canada Energy Regulator’s commission has approved the installation and operation of the Inuvialuit Energy Security Project’s energy centre – the term the project uses for the gas plant at its heart.

That approval comes with a range of conditions related to the environment, safety, emergency response and operational readiness.

The project, which has been pursued by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation for years, involves building a plant to convert natural gas into compressed gas, propane and synthetic diesel for power and heating.

By developing the previously discovered M-18 natural gas well on the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula, the project aims to replace deliveries of liquefied natural gas and propane trucked from the south.

Those deliveries have been a necessity for the past decade after the previous Ikhil well, in the Mackenzie Delta, stopped being a major gas source. Ikhil is still used as a backup gas source during freeze-up and break-up, when the region loses road access.

The IRC hopes benefits of the new well and plant will include jobs, replacement of diesel with a locally produced and reliable energy source, and a reduction in the environmental footprint of current energy infrastructure.

The plant will be located approximately 16 km south of Tuktoyaktuk. The well should remain operational for more than 50 years at the current level of demand in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region, the IRC stated in a presentation in November last year.

In its decision, the commission said the project’s staff had spoken with Elders, harvesters, youth, local leaders, residents and co-management bodies in the course of its application, submitting six environmental plans.

Letters of support came from the likes of hunters and trappers committees in Aklavik, Inuvik, Olokhaktomiut, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour and Tuktoyaktuk, the community corporations of Aklavik, Inuvik, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Tuktoyaktuk and Ulukhaktok, and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation itself. (Its subsidiary, the Inuvialuit Petroleum Corporation, is overseeing the project.)

The commission expects the project team to install the energy centre between June 2025 and March 2026.

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