Canadian Arctic Places & People 1974-1982

In 1960 I was employed by Alberta Gas Trunk Line as part of Gas Project North aiming towards the building of a large gas pipeline from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Chicago. In the course of this work I became the Secretary of the Engineering Committee and the Management Committee.  This project eventually merged into the Canadian Arctic Gas Studies Group made up of 34 large companies all having an equal interest in the project.  My opportunities for unique documentary photography were great, but unfortunately I didn’t have the skills at that time.

In 1974 I was hired to be Director of Environmental Affairs of the Polar Gas Project whose goal was to build a large gas pipeline from the Canadian Arctic Islands to Chicago.  I worked in Toronto for that project for two years before returning to  former employer Dome Petroleum Limited in Calgary.  My work on the Polar Gas Project again provided  opportunities for unique documentary photography but unfortunately I still didn’t have the necessary skills.

By 1982 while back with Dome Petroleum I had begun to acquire the technical and artistic proficiency that enabled me to capture historic people and events involved in offshore drilling in the Beaufort Sea. As  Director of Environmental Affairs I had the opportunity to visit any of Dome’s activities including the offshore drilling.  I was still shooting on film at that time but fortunately I had a significant collection of prints that I scanned for this portfolio.

The offshore drilling activities in the Beaufort Sea portrayed in this portrait were carried out by Dome’s subsidiary Canadian Marine Drilling (Canmar), eventally headed up by Murray Todd.

Canmar had its own environmental group whose work included the development of oil containment and disposal in the event of significant oil spills.  Fortunately their concepts never had to be used.

Notable engineering achievements included the Tarsuit artificial island, the dredged harbour at Mckinley Bay, the drillships, the Careen floating dry dock and the Kigoriak icebreaker.

The Kigoriak was built in the Irving Shipyard in New Brunswick. As time was of the essence the completion of the ice breaker was carried out while the Kigoriak was in transit through the northwest passage to Mckinley Bay in the Beaufort Sea.

I once drove in a station wagon on a sea ice road from Tuktoyaktuk to Mckinley Bay and back.

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