Energy, Mines and Resources

Government's role in oil and gas development

The benefit of development to Yukon businesses

Oil and gas resource development activities provide immediate, and often longer-term, employment and business opportunities to citizens and businesses in the region where it is taking place. Yukon is no exception.

For example, Northern Cross Yukon (NYC)’s exploration drilling program in the Eagle Plain area of northern Yukon resulted in spending of more than $80 million over a two year period (June 2011 to July 2013).

More than 80 Yukon-based organizations participated and benefited from this significant employment and economic injection into Yukon’s economy.

Yukon citizens and businesses received more than $16 million of the total expenditure, including almost $700,000 in wages.

Most of these 80-plus organizations were smaller businesses, and they benefitted the most from NCY’s exploration drilling program.

One such business is Graf’s Enviro Services of Dawson, known at the time as Graf’s Landscaping.

A large truck with the driver and owner
Small’s Expediting Service owner John Small and driver Jamie Fowler at one of their delivery trucks in the company yard in Whitehorse.

Owner Tobias Graf has lived in Yukon since 2005. For NCY’s program, Tobias and his three employees were hired to clear brush, lay down protective ground matting and deliver and level sawdust to protect the permafrost at the well sites.

The two years of work provided significant benefits to the business and its employees.

“It was a big help for sure,” said Tobias. “Usually in Yukon work is very seasonal but this job helped us maintain broader employment throughout the year.” He added that it is thanks to NYC’s exploration program that he was able to hire three employees. Had this project not happened, he said he would only have been able to employ one person during this time period.

Tobias welcomes more oil and gas activity. “Lots of people don’t understand how much we rely on oil and gas products, and to actually be able to provide our own [oil and gas] in our backyard where we can control it… why not here? This work not only benefitted those of us up here [in Dawson] but all of Yukon.”

Small’s Expediting Services Ltd. of Whitehorse was another company that helped service the drilling program. Owner John Small has lived in Yukon for 29 years, and his company has been in existence for 12 years, largely serving Yukon’s resource industry. Both John and his wife’s great-grandfathers came to the Yukon during the Gold Rush over the Chilkoot Pass with his wife’s ancestor operating hotels in Dyea and Carcross.

At the time of the NCY program, John had about 15 staff, and he said the winter portions of the program were especially beneficial to his company and his employees.

“Business is traditionally slower in the winter, so this project was very good for us, and it allowed me to keep more staff on year round. It was good to keep people working,” he said.

Reg Therrien has lived in Yukon since 1969, and is the President of Peacock Sales Limited in Whitehorse. Peacock Sales supplied many items to the Northern Cross camp during that time period. Reg said he would like to see more projects in Yukon like the Northern Cross drilling program.

“We certainly need more of that kind of industry here. This project meant I could keep three employees on full time then.  I no longer have them now.”

While NCY may see positive results from its oil and gas activity, it also assumes the risk and there are no guarantees. Yet thanks to NCY’s exploration drilling program there were immediate and significant benefits to local workers and businesses, especially small businesses.

Learn more about the benefits of oil and gas development

Questions or comments? Contact us: 


Oil and Gas Resources
Phone: 867.393.7042
Toll-free: 1.800.661.0408 ext. 7042
Email: oilandgasconversation@gov.yk.ca