Ferus Natural Gas Fuels Inc. Initiates Capacity Building Program in Anticipation of Inuvialuit Energy Security Project
Ferus Natural Gas Fuels Inc. (Ferus NGF) has entered into partnership with the Inuvialuit Petroleum Corporation (IPC) launching a program aimed at building capacity in Northwest Territories communities adjacent to the proposed Inuvialuit Energy Security Project (IESP).
IESP is an IPC-led proposal to develop the TUK M-18 well with technical and community engagement support from Ferus NGF. The TUK M-18 well is located about 16 km south of Tuktoyaktuk and 125 km northeast of Inuvik.
In addition to developing the well, IESP involves the construction of a gas plant that will process the natural gas and convert it into liqueﬁed natural gas (LNG), which can then be transported to customers for power and heating applications.
In June 2020, Ferus NGF and IPC initiated a series of community consultations, which involved virtual presentations to several important regional bodies including the Town of Inuvik, the Inuvik Hunters and Trappers Committee (IHTC), the Inuvik Community Corporation (ICC), the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, the Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation (TCC), the Tuktoyaktuk Hunters and Trappers Committee (THTC), the Aklavik Community Corporation (ACC), and the Gwich’in Tribal Council.
A common theme arising from the regional consultations was the desire for employment opportunities to be sourced locally, whenever feasible. Ferus NGF and IPC acted on this important feedback by launching a comprehensive capacity building program, which involves identifying IESP job prospects and requirements, publishing information on education and training programs, and providing direct, on-the-job work experience through a student jobs program.
In July 2020, Ferus NGF kicked off the program, hiring two summer students, Dawson Elias (20) and Neal Kuptana (19), from Tuktoyaktuk to work and learn under the tutelage of Ferus NGF’s experienced Field Operators.
Dawson says he was overjoyed when he found out he got the job. “I was super excited and happy!” That sentiment was mirrored by his friends and family in Tuktoyaktuk. “They were all so proud and supportive that [me and Neal] got this great opportunity.”
Over a six-week period, Dawson and Neal received in-depth training that included online industry courses, H2S, First Aid, and orientations on key equipment. They also received a crash course on Human Machine Interface (HMI) controls, Emergency Shutdown Devices (ESDs), power requirements, flaring and methane release controls, and hose identification.
Learning the basics of LNG production and transportation for remote power came with a tour of Ferus NGF’s liquefaction plant and exposure to trailer loading.
Neal, who plans to pursue a degree in trades, said he sees the experience as a step towards a good life and future career. “It gives me a lot of pride knowing that I’m working hard, learning new things, and representing my hometown.”
Ferus NGF sees capacity building as a worthwhile endeavor, and one that provides both immediate and long-term benefits. The skills, knowledge and experience earned through on-the-job training provide individuals with career options they may not have had otherwise.
“We want these students to walk away with a goal for themselves that they can strive to achieve,” said Shane Philibert, who oversees training and first response operations. “Ultimately, it’s our hope that we’ve made a positive impact.”
Capacity building is a two-way street. By working with local people, Ferus NGF gains valuable insights about regional culture, traditions and best practices — knowledge that is integral to successful operations in remote communities.
Senior Field Operator, Nathan Meschishnick supervised much of the students’ training. He says working closely together for six weeks gave them ample time to get to know each other. “We had countless conversations [and] we treated them like family, to be honest.”
By the end of August, Dawson and Neal completed their work experience and were flown home with strict attention to all COVID-19 protocols. Both students said they are looking forward to being reunited with their families and telling them about their experiences.
Ferus NGF believes in the value of capacity building seeing it as a crucial investment in the success and sustainability of regional resource development. Following the successful first round of student jobs program, plans are now underway for two new candidates to be hired this fall.
To learn more about the IESP and the anticipated job opportunities, please visit iesp.inuvialuit.com
The TUK M-18 well is located about 16 km south of Tuktoyaktuk and 125 km northeast of Inuvik.
The IESP will bring three major regional benefits including:
The Project will result in a secure supply of local natural gas for our region for decades to come.
The Project will result in good quality, permanent jobs for residents and cost savings in heating and fuel.
The Project will reduce GHGs by thousands of tonnes each year, while imposing no signiﬁcant impacts on the environment.
"It gives me a lot of pride knowing that I'm working hard, learning new things and representing my home town."
- Neal Kuptana
Ferus NGF surprised Dawson Elias with a cake in celebration of his 20th birthday.
"We want these students to walk away with a goal for themselves that they can strive for. Ultimately, it's our hope that we've made a positive impact."
- Shane Philebert
Training & First Response Operations