Corridor Resources Inc. and partner Petrolia Inc. are conducting a three-part exploration program on Anticosti Island in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to advance the "exploration and development potential of the vast shale oil prospect" on the 3,050 square-mile island, Corridor said.

The Halifax, NS, junior producer said it plans to drill three stratigraphic coreholes through the highly prospective Macasty Formation at locations across the island, analyze extensive well core and cuttings samples, and undertake a baseline study of the Anticosti groundwater system.

"The coring, water wells and data collection are expected to be completed by the end of 2012, with the final analytical results due in 2013," Corridor said. "The objective of these programs is to further define the resource estimates across Anticosti Island and to help select optimal locations where the next stage of drilling and testing programs can be initiated, leading towards potential development of this exciting, emerging eastern North American oil play."

The announcement comes more than a year after Sproule Associates calculated liquids and gas equivalent to 19.8-48.2 billion boe in 2,343 square miles (6,092 square kilometers) of mineral hunting licenses that Corridor and Petrolia hold on the island (see Shale Daily, July 18, 2011). That technical report was commissioned by the two exploration and production firms. There is currently no gas or oil production on Anticosti. Technical data up to modern standards came primarily from only eight exploratory wells and 400 kilometers (240 miles) of seismic surveys since 1998.

"The Sproule resources report addressed only the petroleum initially in place since insufficient information was available at such time to estimate the technical or economically recoverable amount of shale gas within the study area," Corridor said Tuesday.

The company is evaluating options for further exploration and development of the resource, including the possibility of farming out portions of the Corridor interest. "The Anticosti exploration program is at an early stage; further work is required to determine the potential for commercially viable resource recovery, prior to considering development," Corridor said.

Quebec, which is also home to a portion of the Utica Shale, has limited the use of hydraulic fracturing to exploration purposes only (see Shale Daily, March 10, 2011). In April a committee appointed by the province's environment minister said the practice requires further study and recommended against authorizing any test wells that would conduct fracking for research purposes (see Shale Daily, April 10).

Late last year Corridor shares took a pounding after the company said it failed to find a joint venture partner to help develop its prospect in the emerging Frederick Brook Shale (see Shale Daily, Dec. 22, 2011). The news sent Corridor's stock down nearly 38% in a single day in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. On Tuesday Corridor's stock, which had traded as high as $2.80 last year -- and tumbled to 48 cents/share at one point this year -- was trading at 76 cents/share.