Fuel shortage hits small community in Arctic Canada

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The community of Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, faces fuel shortage after the hamlet’s supply was contaminated. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)
There was no fuel in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, in the Canadian Arctic, for most of this week after the hamlet’s supply was contaminated during a tank cleaning.

Ford Widrig, comptroller for the Nunavut government’s petroleum products division, said the problem was noticed on Wednesday.

He said the gasoline was mistakenly transferred to a fuel tank containing old fuel, which ended up contaminating the hamlet’s entire supply.

“It’s absolutely serious,” he said Friday. “You can imagine somebody living anywhere, if you woke up tomorrow and there is no gas. Vehicles of all sorts — what you’d have is what is in your tank.”

The Nunavut government is in the process of airlifting a resupply of fuel from Cambridge Bay, which should arrive Friday. The resupply is expected to last through the weekend.

Widrig didn’t have exact details on how much this will cost, but he estimates it could approach $1 million.

“We just want to get on it as quickly as possible and minimize service interruption,” he said. “It’s springtime. It’s Canada Day long weekend; absolutely, people are wanting to get out.”

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Jet fuel shortage disrupts flights in isolated region of Northern Canada, CBC News

Finland: Finnish chemistry professor develops “revolutionary” biofuel, Yle News

Russia: LNG could fuel towns in Arctic Russia, The Independent Barents Observer

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