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Gas compensation coming

Brent Reaney
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (June 29/05) - While the details are still sketchy, a compensation package for those affected this winter by the Kivalliq gas supply could be made public as early as this week.

After weeks of negotiations, the government of Nunavut and Shell Canada are planning to make an announcement.

"Things are going well. We're at the final stage," said Tom Rich, deputy minister with Community and Government Services.

A voucher-based system to compensate those affected by the gas has been announced, but neither Rich nor Shell spokesperson Denita Davis would discuss how such a program would be implemented.

"In the next few weeks we should be able to have a plan in place and be able to roll it out," said Davis from Toronto, adding liability was not discussed during negotiations.

This past winter, a number of Kivallimiut complained of ruined spark plugs and a thick black smoke coming from their snow machines when operating in extremely cold temperatures.

An additive found to alleviate the problem will be re-inserted into this year's gas supply, along with a number of other modifications to help prevent similar problems, Davis said. Damage to outboard motors, engine pistons and crankshafts was also believed to have been caused by the gas. Davis said Shell has found no evidence to support those claims.

The Kivalliq fuel comes from Shell's Scotford refinery in Edmonton. That gas was found to be slightly different from what was sent to the Baffin region from a Shell Montreal refinery.

This year is the final year of a three-year fuel supply contract between Shell and the GN. A contract renewal is being negotiated, Davis said.