Phasing Out the Use of Heavy Fuel Oil in the Canadian Arctic: Impacts to Northern Communities

Nuka Research was contracted by WWF-Canada to assess the economic and social implications to a ban on the use and carriage for use of Heavy Fuel oil (HFO) by vessels operating in the Canadian Arctic. This analysis included an economic assessment, conducted by Northern Economics. The project included multiple analyses to identify the many impacts of HFO in the Arctic. The first analysis included an assessment of the correlation between shipping costs and the cost of goods in northern communities to determine if a potential rise in fuel costs associated with non-HFO based shipping would increase costs of goods to indigenous communities. The second analysis in this project included an analysis on impacts of an arctic HFO spill on environmental and social resources. This component included assessments on when oil spill response is actually viable in the Arctic regions to inform a realistic assessment on the impacts of a potential HFO spill. Additionally, this study included assessing the cost of a potential arctic oil spill, including which costs are borne by communities and which could be borne by a responsible party.


Nuka Research presented these findings at a panel entitled “Impacts and Benefits of a Heavy Fuel Oil Ban in the Arctic” at the October 2018 IMO meeting in London with indigenous leaders, non-profit organizations and other stakeholders.

Client: WWF- Canada

Project Dates: January – August, 2018