The town of Inuvik in the Northwest Territories is preparing for a shortage of natural gas, despite being close to some of the biggest gas reserves in Canada.
Only one active gas well supplies the town, but it’s running low and the town might have to switch from natural gas to propane. Inuvik Mayor Denny Rodgers said there’s nothing the town can do.
"Sometimes Mother Nature has a say in what happens in these reserves, and in this case there is water coming into the reserve and it is leaving behind unusable gas," Rodgers said.
Local companies have told the mayor they're not going to build a replacement well without help from taxpayers.
"The problem is, if you're going to sink potentially $70 million into a project, we're such a small market," Rodgers said.
Kevin MacKay, the general manager of Inuvik Gas, said without a replacement well the company will have to switch to a propane-air mix.
The new mix could power existing furnaces and stoves, but could cost much more. MacKay doesn't argue with an estimate of two or three times more.
Fast food restaurant owner Terry El-Khatib is already paying about $1,800 per month in heating bills. He wants to know how big the increase will be.
"They should clear it up. We want to know how much more expensive. We hope it's not double the amount," El-Khatib said
Inuvik's well is projected to last another year and a half.