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Quebec OKs initial surveys on Anticosti Island to see if it's worth exploring

QUEBEC - The Quebec government has given the green light to go ahead with environmental assessments to see if it is possible to explore for oil on Anticosti Island.

Natural Resources Minister Pierre Arcand said Friday about 15 surveys will be conducted on the island's soil this summer.

More extensive work, including the drilling of three wells, will be done in the summer of 2015 if the results of a strategic environmental assessment on Anticosti Island are favourable.

The activity is in conformity with a deal struck by the previous Parti Quebecois government with exploration companies Petrolia (TSX:PEA) and Corridor Resources Inc. (TSX:CDH).

Arcand also announced a strategic assessment will be carried out on hydrocarbons, including shale gas.

The aim is to examine the oil and gas potential for Quebec and determine the best ways to tap the resource.

Arcand said oil will continue to play a major role in the Quebec economy for decades to come.

"You understand that with it accounting for more than 50 per cent of our total energy consumption, it is impossible to go without hydrocarbons in the coming decades," Arcand said.

He said the PQ had insisted the Anticosti project could be worth billions in revenue for the province and he feels the studies are necessary to determine if that's true.

Arcand also said Quebec wants to accelerate talks with the federal government to set the rules on the possible exploitation of the Old Harry oil and gas deposit in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The provincial government will also work with the National Energy Board on the TransCanada Energy East pipeline project.

The PQ was less impressed with the government's efforts and accused the Liberals of trying to resurrect the shale-gas industry.

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