Inuvik's propane switch means more truck traffic
Town would need to bring about 217 truckloads of propane a year up the Dempster
Inuvik's switch to propane will mean bringing the fuel up the Dempster Highway and building more facilities in which to store it.
The N.W.T. town is switching from natural gas to propane because its natural gas well is running dry earlier than predicted.
Mike Dever with ATCO Midstream, one of the partners of Inuvik Gas, said propane is currently stored in four tanks built as part of an emergency supply in case the natural gas flow was interrupted. If the whole town relied on that supply, it would run dry in less than a week.
"We size that storage to provide five days of backup storage capacity," he said.
Because of river crossings, Inuvik is cut off from the highway twice a year during break-up and freeze-up, for weeks at a time. That means more storage will need to be built.
Chris Biegler with Inuvik Gas said the company plans to use tanker trucks called "super Bs" to haul propane up the Dempster.
"On an annual basis, we're looking at about 217 truckloads," he said.
The switch to propane is being called a temporary measure assuming Inuvik will find investors or government funding to develop a new source of natural gas.