Fuel shortage forces rationing in Sanikiluaq
GN petroleum division director says shortfall was unexpected; delivery date moved up to ensure supply lasts
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.