The Quebec government has made an opening move to evict fledgling natural gas and oil activity from the province’s prime exploration territory in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, said partners in the drilling program.
Negotiations on closing access to the resource target have begun as a result of a Parks Canada application to UNESCO for designating Anticosti Island as a World Heritage Site, said Petrolia Inc. in Quebec City and Nova Scotia-based Corridor Resources Inc.
The producers had planned to start soon on the first French Canadian trial of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing after three years of preparations by Anticosti Hydrocarbons, a partnership with provincial investment agency Ressources Quebec.
"We are still fully convinced, even more than in 2014, of the potential and the relevance of the Anticosti project for Quebec and its society,” said Petrolia President Martin Belanger. “However, we enter this negotiation in good faith.”
Corridor management added, “No assurance can be given that the negotiations will be successfully concluded.”
The companies said they triggered the talks by asking the Quebec government to clarify implications of its declared support in December for the federal application to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
The wildlife population of Anticosti vastly outnumbers the 200 human residents who call the island the Galapagos of the North and have resisted the drilling campaign in the name of protecting its natural environment and tourism attractions.