Quebec halts Anticosti Island exploration

July 31, 2017
The Quebec government has suspended oil and gas exploration on Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The Quebec government has suspended oil and gas exploration on Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

It cited its support of an application by the Municipality of Anticosti Island for designation as a world heritage site under UNESCO’s Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

A primary exploratory target had been the Ordovician Macasty shale (OGJ Online, Oct. 23, 2014).

The government reached settlement agreements with some of the small producers with interests in Anticosti Island acreage and was negotiating with others.

Junex Inc., Quebec, said it will receive $5.53 million (Can.) for its interests.

“We have always believed in the strong hydrocarbon potential of our permits on Anticosti,” said Junex Pres. and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Yves Lavoie. “Given the lack of infrastructure, our strategy was to attract a major industry player as a partner to develop that resource.”

Corridor Resources Inc., Halifax, will receive $19.5 million for its interests, held through its 21.67% of Anticosti Hydrocarbons LP, a joint venture formed by the government in 2014.

The partnership also includes Petrolia Inc., Quebec; Ressources Quebec, a subsidiary of government affiliate Investissement Quebec; and Maurel & Prom SA, Paris, through subsidiary Sait-Aubin E&P Quebec Inc.

Maurel & Prom said it negotiated a settlement of $16.2 million for its 21.7% interest.

Petrolia, the Anticosti Hydrocarbons operator, confirmed in a press statement that it was negotiating with the government and expressed disappointment with the decision.

“Petrolia reminds that it was at the request of the government of Quebec that it partnered with HASEC in 2014 and that it transferred its licenses in order to explore for oil resources on the island in the collective interest of Quebeckers,” it said, using the French acronym for Anticosti Hydrocarbons. “The decision by the same government today to prohibit the oil exploration on the island must be approached and considered bearing this historical fact in mind.”

Another Anticosti Island license holder, TransAmerican Energy Inc., Vancouver, BC, said it also was negotiating with the government.

The company said it earlier had surrendered claims in a St. Lawrence area where exploration was suspended to preserve its Anticosti Island rights.

“As these activities have had a fundamental impact impeding the company’s business progress in Quebec, it is currently reviewing its approach to negotiations moving forward,” TransAmerican said.