by Glenn Taylor
Northern News Services
INUVIK (Feb 14/97) - Work has begun on the planned testing of a nearby gas well by the Inuvialuit Petroleum Corporation.
IPC announced last year it would spend $1.5 million to test the Ikhil reservoir, located about 30 kilometres northeast of Inuvik. Thought to contain between 20 to 40 billion cubic feet of natural gas, IPC hopes to build a pipeline linking Inuvik to the cheap energy source.
Testing this winter will ensure there's enough gas (at least 20 years of Inuvik supply) to make the project profitable.
Road crews began cutting the six-km overland road to the Ikhil reservoir last week, according to IPC chair Russell Newmark. The road should be finished by Thursday. Meanwhile, trucks from Inuvik left this week for Red Deer, Alta., to pick up the testing rig (all nine truckloads worth) needed to do the test.
"It's unfolding just the way we set out," said Newmark. "It all boils down to (whether) there's enough gas there, we will have a project. I remain confident."
The rig should be up and running before Feb. 20 for two weeks of testing, said Newmark. Flow rates will be assessed to determine how big Ikhil really is. Testing equipment will remain on site after the rig is removed, to further study the site.
Up to 30 people have been hired to do the work.
Discovered in 1986 by Gulf Canada, Ikhil was later sold to Shell Canada Ltd. IPC picked up a 73-per-cent stake in the discovery in 1991.