Fuel shortage forces rationing in Sanikiluaq

GN petroleum division director says shortfall was unexpected; delivery date moved up to ensure supply lasts

Sanikiluaq’s supply of diesel fuel is running low enough that it has to be rationed, the Government of Nunavut’s petroleum products division director Bernard Bourque said. The next fuel shipment was supposed to occur on Nov. 5, but has been bumped to Oct. 26. (File photo)

By David Lochead

The community of Sanikiluaq is running lower than expected on diesel fuel, and rationing has begun to ensure it has enough until the next shipment arrives Oct. 26.

Bernard Bourque, the Government of Nunavut petroleum products division director, said keeping the power plant and homes supplied is being prioritized in the meantime.

“They might not get all the fuel they [want], but they should get enough fuel until the ship gets there,” Bourque said of how residents will be affected by the rationing process.

He said his division, which is responsible for importing, distributing and storing Nunavut’s fuel, learned of the shortage on the morning of Oct. 19.

Bourque said he did not want to blame anyone for the lack of supply but added there will be an evaluation done into the cause of the shortage.

“We will revise our policies, plans and procedures to minimize the risk of this [fuel shortage] from happening again,” he said.

He said the volume of fuel on hand in the community of about 1,000 was lower than what records indicated it should be.

“We were caught by surprise on this,” Bourque said.

One of the residents who has noticed the impact of the fuel shortage is Allan Rumbolt, who used to be the community’s MLA.

He said services, such as water delivery, are functioning now but the community will need more fuel in the next couple of days. If the powerplant were to run out of fuel, though, he said that will create “a snowball effect.”

Rumbolt also said that with the shortage, fuel for airplanes is restricted, to ensure there is enough for medevac flights.

Bourque said the GN is confident there will be enough fuel in Sanikiluaq until more arrives by ship on Oct. 26, but if more is needed before then it will be flown into the community.

Initially, the next shipment of fuel was scheduled to arrive in Sanikiluaq on Nov. 5, which is later than normal, he said.

The Government of Nunavut’s Department of Community and Government Services did not respond to questions from Nunatsiaq News on the diesel shortage in time for publication.

A spokesperson for the Hamlet of Sanikiluaq declined comment, referring questions should go to the petroleum products division.

Sanikiluaq MLA Daniel Qavvik was not available to comment.


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(11) Comments:

  1. Posted by How? on

    Let’s actually evaluate this because this isn’t the first community to run a shortage. There’s supposed to be routine dips happening, this is how you reconcile the litres sold to the dips and to the numbers that the trucks spit out via tickets. These three things should all reconcile with some variance in dips since it’s not an exact science using a tape measure and pumbbob.

    This would suggest they’re not doing any of that, or they clearly would have known there would have been a shortage coming. It also clearly shows they’re not reconciling on a routine basis of litres disbursed from the far to litres sold on tickets, which means there’s ample room for fraud.

    How is there no enforcement of this? It’s one of the most basic checks you can do. Litres out of the trucks compared to litres charged to customers compared to litres used from the farm. You should know exactly how much is in the tanks at all times.

    • Posted by M. M. on

      That is why I always thought the jobs of PPD and a hand full of other GN jobs are just for show. Space takers to spend money on redundant work to look like there is employment. Same thing in PI last season. But of course no one knew it was happening till they had to plane-in fuel or just close the fuel station.

      • Posted by Who stop there on

        Don’t single or PPD, this is the case for just about any job in nunavut like Hamlet, GN, schools, stores. There are a few who work but most are glued to their phones all day doing lord knows what

      • Posted by Job Perks on

        Not just jobs that are for show, but perhaps jobs that offer free fuel? As the original poster said, they should be reconciling dips with amount sold. If they were doing dips, they’d know that actual, physical amount of fuel. If they were only going off of litres sold, and it turns out there’s less than expected, then where did the extra fuel go? Are employees filling up their own tanks for free?

  2. Posted by K on

    So, what you are saying is that if the fuel was correctly measured, there wouldn’t have been a shortage?

    • Posted by What How is saying on

      I think what How? is saying is that if the fuel was measured correctly they would have seen the shortage coming a long time in advance since it’s all just basic math!

  3. Posted by MBA Not Needed on

    Fuel in Nunavut is amongst the lowest price fuel anywhere on earth, because last year’s price has been locked in. Anyone with a boat or a plane would choose to top up their tanks in Nunavut, to save money. And if the folks handling the distribution are not paying attention, they would not necessarily know that the extra usage was pushing them to running out of fuel.
    It’s called lack of management. Some might say, incompetence.

    • Posted by 867 on

      “Oh ya, let me just divert my boat 1000 miles so I can go save 50 cents a liter on fuel for 1 tank” said no one ever.

    • Posted by Maybe MBA Needed on

      “Think I’ll fly my Cessna from Edmonton to Kugluktuk to fill up the tank. I’ll have to stop in Yellowknife on the way because the range of a tank of fuel isn’t enough to get there in one go. And I’ll have to stop for fuel on the way back too. But man, I can’t wait to see those savings.”

    • Posted by Just saying on

      If your company is taking a cruise ship through the northwest passage, or if you are flying a 737 between Ottawa and Iqaluit, you might arrange for refueling in Nunavut.

      • Posted by Don’t Say on

        Cruise ships don’t have the ability to refuel in Nunavut and the planes that fly Ottawa to Iqaluit and back have always, and will always, fuel up in Iqaluit.

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