The rivers froze before gasoline arrived in Nunapitchuk

a barge
Vitus Energy delivered stove oil and diesel to Nunapitchuk on Nov. 2, 2023. (Courtesy photo)

The Kuskokwim and Johnson rivers are frozen, and Nunapitchuk never received its gasoline delivery before winter. The village did receive deliveries of both diesel and stove oil.

On Nov. 2, two Vitus Energy barges were making their way up the Johnson River on the way to Nunapitchuk when one of the barges got stuck because of north winds, ice forming, and a lack of tide. That was the barge with the gasoline. Now that barge is stuck on the water for the winter.

Northstar Gas CEO John Wagner told KYUK earlier that Nunapitchuk’s late order put the village last on the list for Vitus Energy’s fall fuel deliveries.

The village will have to wait for the ice road to form in order to get its fuel. When the conditions are right, Vitus plans to use trucks or other means to deliver the order, which was for 70,000 gallons of gasoline.

Right now, Nunapitchuk has 13,000 gallons of gasoline. Wassillie Brink, who runs the gas station, said that he’s already started limiting his gas. He said others will probably do the same when they find out there’s not enough gas for winter. Residents can also go to nearby villages to buy gas. Nunapitchuk’s closest neighbor, Kasigluk, is the only other village with a pending order at Vitus, though that’s just a top-off of the tank.

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