Feature Interview: Unconventional petroleum resources found in Canada’s Sahtu region…. Now what?


The town of Norman Wells in Canada's Northwest Territories. (Eilís Quinn / Eye on the Arctic)
The town of Norman Wells in Canada’s Northwest Territories. (Eilís Quinn / Eye on the Arctic)


Canada’s National Energy Board and the Northwest Territories Geological Survey released a report last month that almost 200 billion barrels of unconventional petroleum resources were identified in the Sahtu region of Canada’s Northwest Territories (NWT).

Though the assessment stressed that only a portion of the oil may be recoverable, many in the Northwest Territories were optimistic about the opportunities the news could bring.

“This is probably the savour for the whole Sahtu region, if it’s developed” says Gregor Harold McGregor, the mayor of Norman Wells, one of the communities in the region. “But we don’t have an all year road, and I’m thinking probably without that, it’s going to be developed sometime in the future.”

To find out more, Eye on the Arctic reached Gregor Harold McGregor in Normal Wells to talk about the energy economy in the region and what the town needs to take advantage of it:

 Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada:  Arctic drilling doesn’t just effect the Arctic say Greenpeace campaign participants, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Finns still sharply divided over wind power, Yle News

Greenland: Arctic oil and gas must stay in ground to restrict warming to 2°C says study, Blog by Mia Bennett

Iceland:  From Arctic Circle 2013-2014, a big drop in the price of oil, Blog by Mia Bennett

Norway:  Norway surpasses Russia as top gas supplier, Barents Observer

Russia: Parallels drawn between space race and Arctic offshore development, Blog by Mia Bennett

United States: Appeals court upholds Shell’s Arctic oil spill plans, Blog by Mia Bennett

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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