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Hay River hopes to benefit from Sahtu development

The town of Hay River, N.W.T., wants to show players in the up-and-coming Sahtu oil development that it's more than just a dot on the map.

Businesses in the N.W.T. town want a piece of oil play

The town in Hay River N.W.T. isn't in the Sahtu region, but it's hoping to have a role to play in an expected fracking energy boom in the area. 2:10

The town of Hay River, N.W.T., wants to show players in the up-and-coming Sahtu oil development that it's more than just a dot on the map.

Even though it's a long way from the Sahtu, businesses in Hay River want a piece of the oil play if it comes to fruition in the region.

Last week, oil giant Husky Energy toured the town to see what it has to offer. The company has committed to spending hundreds of millions of dollars exploring for oil in the Sahtu region.

Hay River's Economic Coordinator, Jordan Stackhouse, says even though it's a town of only 3,500 people, they can provide more than most towns of that size. 

"I think it was really kind of an eye opener for them saying, 'Wow you guys can build huge tanks and all the stuff that we need on our camps,' and there's a push to keep that business in the N.W.T., where possible," Stackhouse said.

He says Hay River has vital links by road, rail and sea.

"We have the railhead obviously, we're a port, all the barging leaves from here ... I think it could be better used. We went and showed them the barges and they said, 'Holy smokes look at the size of these barges,'" Stackhouse said.

Wally Schumann's business, Poison Graphics, makes signs. 

"There's signage on the lease. They're doing their $30 million road from the river to site. There's safety signage on everything. There's safety signage walking into a catering operation. So those opportunities are coming."

Schumann says he's been aggressively pursuing opportunities with the companies working in the Sahtu and other local companies need to do the same.

Stackhouse says Husky found the tour enlightening. The town is hoping to give similar tours to ConocoPhillips, MGM and Shell — all are major players in Sahtu development plans.

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