After four months of negotiations, the Quebec government has agreed to pay C$41.4 million ($33 million) in compensation to three oil and gas companies for putting a stop to their drilling campaigns on Anticosti Island.
The provincial energy department on Friday announced the deals were made with Canadian firms Junex Inc. and Corridor Resources Inc., and Paris-based Maurel and Prom Co. Negotiations continue with Petrolia Inc. in Quebec City and Vancouver-based TransAmerican Energy.
The negotiations began in early April, when the producers disclosed that access to drilling targets was being lost.
Parks Canada has applied for the remote island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The companies had planned to start soon on the first French Canadian trial of unconventional drilling, combining horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking). They had prepared for three years through their Hydrocarbures Anticosti partnership with a provincial government investment agency Ressources Quebec.
A moratorium against fracking has been imposed elsewhere in Quebec, and opposition to the industry ran deep on Anticosti, where the wildlife population vastly outnumbers 200 human residents who call the island the Galapagos of the North.