Gas well done
Fort Liard, Chevron, mark production of K-29 well

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

Fort Liard ( Jun 12/00) - It has taken just two years for the most productive natural gas well in Western Canada to reach production.

Chevron Canada Resources' K-29 well, nestled between the Liard River and the rugged Mackenzie Mountains, is now generating 75 million cubic feet per day.

But the process has spanned a decade, said Acho Dene Koe Chief Harry Deneron.

"In 1990, when the land claim died, there were groups that went their own way," he said.

In July 1990, the Dene/Metis land claim collapsed when the Dene and Metis, at their assemblies, decided not to go ahead with an agreement signed in April of that year.

"If you look around, things are happening a bit different (in Fort Liard) than in other communities," said Deneron.

"We're doing things on our own," he said.

Deneron spoke last Tuesday at the community hall in Fort Liard during an event marking the start of production at the K-29 natural gas well.

In the past, Deneron has said when the land claim died a new era of natural gas development started around Fort Liard.

"We don't trap and live off the land the way we used to," he said.

"I don't think government realized we were going to do it (go ahead with resource development)," he said, adding that it must be difficult for government when one group says they want development and another says they do not.

Fort Liard found itself on its own.

"Sometimes, it pays to be alone."

Jim Simpson, the president of Chevron Canada Resources, said in the future people will look back on this as the "spark" that started a new phase of development.

Chevron's K-29 well is among three natural gas wells to go into production in recent weeks.

In addition to K-29, Ranger Oil is flowing gas from its P-66 well, just north of K-29. Paramount is also flowing gas from its F-36 well, located 30 kilometres south of Fort Liard. And Chevron is hoping to tie into its M-25 well, located about five kilometres south of K-29, this November. BP Amoco's Pointed Mountain field, located 30 kilometres northwest of Fort Liard, has been producing natural gas since 1972.

Chevron is "looking to hire two Northerners as operators," said Larry Stewart, Chevron Canada Resources exploration manager.

"The project continues to offer opportunities," he says.