Report presents fantasy scenarios for intensive natural gas development in northern Yukon

North Yukon's natural gas resources would bring great economic benefits to the territory if they were developed, a recent report has found.

North Yukon’s natural gas resources would bring great economic benefits to the territory if they were developed, a recent report has found.

The study was completed by the Canadian Energy Research Institute, a non-profit group funded by government and industry.

It studied two hypothetical development scenarios, one where the Eagle Plain basin is developed for domestic consumption, and one were the Peel Plateau and Plain basin is also developed for domestic consumption and exports.

The domestic gas scenario would see $35 million in annual Yukon gross domestic product impact over 25 years, and 240 annual local jobs.

The export scenario would see $108 million in local GDP impact and 760 jobs in the territory.

Both scenarios are highly speculative. As the report notes, the Yukon’s natural gas industry is in its infancy.

For one of these scenarios to become reality, a company or companies would have to secure leases to all of the available land in the basin, prove up the resource and then enter the environmental assessment and regulatory processes to get permits for production.

On top of that, a pipeline would have to be permitted and built to get the gas to an envisioned power plant and liquefied natural gas facility at Stewart Crossing, which would also have to be permitted and built.

All of this depends on industry interest in this development, which for the moment is limited.

The domestic scenario would see close to three-quarters of the Eagle Plain basin developed.

Currently Northern Cross Yukon is working to prove up resources in that basin, but its leases cover just a quarter of the basin, and its active exploration covers just a small fraction of that.

The export scenario counts on not only the development of the Eagle Plain basin, but also the Peel Plateau and Plain.

That basin is located in the Peel watershed, which the government has put off-limits to mineral staking and oil and gas leases while a court battle over its future continues.

The report’s export gas scenario envisions a pipeline from the middle of the Peel watershed to Eagle Plain, continuing on all the way through an imagined LNG facility in Haines, Alaska.

Both scenarios also count on the proposed Casino mine to eat up a big chunk of the produced natural gas.

The gas would be piped from northern Yukon to a hub at Stewart Crossing. At that point, some would be burned in a power plant to feed Yukon’s grid, some would be liquefied and trucked to off-grid mines and communities, and some would continue down a 125-kilometre pipeline, across the Yukon River to the Casino mine property.

The Casino mine, currently in the environmental assessment phase, expects to build a 150-megawatt natural gas power plant to fuel its operations, using imported LNG.

That’s as much as Yukon Energy’s current hydro and diesel capacity combined.

The natural gas study notes significant risks that would affect both the domestic and export scenarios.

For the domestic scenario, any excess surplus gas beyond local demand would have nowhere to go. The gas from Eagle Plain would more than double the territory’s current hydro capacity.

In the export scenario, gas prices would be at the whim of international markets. Currently those prices are very low, thanks to a glut of shale gas production in B.C., Alberta and the United States.

Still, the report suggests developing Yukon’s natural gas industry could be preferable to investing in new large-scale hydro, as the Yukon government has already committed to do.

“Eagle Plain gas could well serve the Yukon’s needs as the territory grows since it is cheaper to develop than new large-scale hydro, is less (greenhouse gas-)intensive than diesel, and more reliable than intermittent wind.”

The Yukon government expects to use this report as a template for its promised study of the potential economic benefits of shale gas development in the Liard Basin through hydraulic fracturing.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kwanlin Dün First Nation chief Doris Bill holds up a signed copy of the KDFN <em>Lands Act</em> agreement during an announcement at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre in Whitehorse on Oct. 20. Under the new act, called Nan kay sháwthän Däk’anúta ch’e (We all look after our land) in Southern Tutchone, KDFN will be able to allot citizens land to build their own houses on, for example, or to use for traditional activities. The First Nation will also be able to enforce laws around things like land access and littering. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s Lands Act comes into force

The act gives the First Nation the authority to manage, protect and enforce laws on its settlement lands

Two doctors in Watson Lake say they are at risk of losing their housing due to a Yukon Housing Corporation policy that only allows one pet per family. (Wikimedia Commons)
Healthcare workers in Watson Lake say housing pet policy could force them to leave

The Yukon Housing Corporation has threatened evictions for having more than one pet

The Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services building in Whitehorse on March 28, 2019. Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed for good say they were relieved to hear that the Yukon RCMP has undertaken a forensic audit into the now-defunct NGO’s financial affairs. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Former Many Rivers board members relieved to hear about forensic audit, wonder what took so long

Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed… Continue reading

Whitehorse General Hospital in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. The Yukon Employees’ Union and Yukon Hospital Corporation are at odds over whether there’s a critical staffing shortage at the territory’s hospitals. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
YEU, Yukon Hospital Corp. at odds over whether hospitals are understaffed

YEU says four nurses quit within 12 hours last week, a claim the YHC says is “inaccurate”

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates, Ray Hartling and Mark Lange, have filed a class action against the jail, corrections officials and Yukon government on behalf of everyone who’s been placed in two restrictive units over the past six years. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Class action filed against Whitehorse Correctional Centre over use of segregation

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates have filed a class action against… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Triple J’s Canna Space in Whitehorse on April 17, 2019, opens their first container of product. Two years after Canada legalized the sale of cannabis, Yukon leads the country in per capita legal sales. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon leads Canadian cannabis sales two years after legalization

Private retailers still asking for changes that would allow online sales

A sign greets guests near the entrance of the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse on June 11. The city announced Oct. 16 it was moving into the next part of its phased reopening plan with spectator seating areas open at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
CGC reopening continues

Limited spectator seating now available

During Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 19 meeting, planning manager Mélodie Simard brought forward a recommendation that a proposed Official Community Plan amendment move forward that would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend, currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
More development in Whistle Bend contemplated

OCP change would be the first of several steps to develop future area

asdf
EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Most Read