Get deal now on Old Harry oil, gas: PQ

QUEBEC - The Parti Québécois opposition called on Premier Jean Charest on Wednesday to pick up the phone and contact Prime Minister Stephen Harper to get an agreement allowing hydrocarbon extraction on Quebec's side of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Source:montrealgazette     Time:24 Feb 2011
QUEBEC - The Parti Québécois opposition called on Premier Jean Charest on Wednesday to pick up the phone and contact Prime Minister Stephen Harper to get an agreement allowing hydrocarbon extraction on Quebec's side of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

"We now have nothing to say," said the PQ's Bernard Drainville, reacting to news that Corridor Resources Inc. of Halifax has applied to drill an exploratory well on the Newfoundland and Labrador side of the Old Harry formation in the Gulf.

"They don't seem to listen to us. They don't seem to care," Drainville said of the federal government, noting Newfoundland has had an agreement with Ottawa for 25 years and that Quebec is still part of Canada.

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that offshore resources belong to the federal government, while Quebec and the other provinces claim the resources are provincial.

Newfoundland and Nova Scotia have agreements with Ottawa on exploration and extraction and allowing the provinces to collect resource royalties, while Quebec does not.

As well, Newfoundland does not recognize a 1964 agreement setting the undersea border between Quebec and Newfoundland. That agreement has no legal standing, the courts have ruled.

Quebec Natural Resources Minister Nathalie Normandeau has been discussing the issue of resource ownership with Christian Paradis, her counterpart in the federal government.

Drainville said Normandeau has not obtained an agreement, and he called on Charest to intervene immediately.

The Old Harry field is named after the nearest landfall, the village of Old Harry, on Quebec's ?les de la Madeleine.

Old Harry is about 30 kilometres long and could contain as much as 2 billion barrels of oil or 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to meet Quebec's needs for 25 years.

Drainville noted that Corridor would consult residents on the ?les de la Madeleine.

Corridor also has applied for drilling rights on the Quebec side of Old Harry, but because there is no agreement with Ottawa, drilling on the Quebec side cannot go ahead.

Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/deal+Harry/4332576/story.html#ixzz1Epvgh4Q7

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