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Having run out of diesel, Iglulik prepared to use jet fuel to heat homes

Iglulik has exhausted its supply of diesel fuel to heat residences so it’s prepared to distribute Jet A fuel to fill home heating tanks as fall temperatures begin to dip below freezing.

The community is awaiting a sealift vessel that’s currently in Sanirajak – about 70 km to the south – to bring a resupply of diesel.

Jet A fuel could be going into home heating tanks until a sealift resupply of diesel reaches Iglulik, which has run out of the fuel.
BaShildy/Wikimedia Commons photo

Mayor Merlyn Recinos said he’s been told that Qulliq Energy Corporation still has a supply of fuel, so electricity should be maintained.

As for the approximately 1,700 residents, there’s no need for panic because “Jet-A fuel is a perfect substitute for home heating fuel,” said Duane Wilson, vice-president of stakeholder relations with Arctic Co-operatives.

The Co-op holds the contract as the community’s fuel distributor.

“In this case, there will be minimal impact, if any at all,” Wilson said. “Due to the sharp reduction in scheduled air services into the community, there is ample supply of Jet A to ensure that there is no additional costs, risks of freeze-up, shortages or other negative impacts on the community.”

On Monday evening, Recinos said he planned to be on the phone with the Government of Nunavut’s Petroleum Products Division (PPD) on Tuesday morning to get an explanation as to how Iglulik’s diesel reserves were able to be depleted.

“To be honest with you, I’m quite disappointed that this happened because PPD should know. We plan things and understand this is the latest we have gotten a (sealift) fuel delivery in Iglulik,” said Recinos. “Ensuring that we have things in place to cover our community and our residents, that’s my first priority. Now I need to find out what happened to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

The Government of Nunavut couldn’t provide any answers to Nunavut News’ questions as of early Tuesday morning.

The overnight low in Iglulik on Monday was around -5 C. With the ground beginning to freeze, Recinos added that having diesel to run heavy equipment is also important. Putting gravel on local roads to keep them from becoming slippery is critical, he said.