Shale Gas Fracking on Île Anticosti, Quebec, Canada

Quebec's bid for energy independence threatens island refuge with plans to test novel fracking technologies. Locals are calling the plans to frack: "the theft of the century."


The government of the province of Québec has approved the exploration of shale gas and oil exploration activities on the province’s largest island, l’île Anticosti. The island is a refuge for a diversity of offshore aquatic life as well endemic and endangered terrestrial flora and fauna (e.g. the Atlantic Salmon). Bison, caribou, Red Fox, River Otter, elk, mink, moose and other terrestrial mammals as well as grey seals and various species of whale live on or around Anticosti. The reefs off the island are among the most ecologically sensitive in the St. Lawrence seaway.

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Basic Data
NameShale Gas Fracking on Île Anticosti, Quebec, Canada
SiteÎle Anticosti
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Shale gas fracking
Specific CommoditiesCrude oil
Natural Gas
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsAccording to reports (1), Petrolia plans to test a new fracking techology which entails injecting natural gas instead of water into the ground to push crude oil to the surface
Level of Investment (in USD)115,000,000 or more
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population250 (inhabitants of the island)
Start Date18/02/2014
Company Names or State EnterprisesPetrolia Incorporated from Canada
Corridor Resources from Canada
Maurel et Prom from France
Junex Incorporated from Canada
St-Aubin E&P from France
Relevant government actors(Government related unions / parties) : Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux (CSN); Centrale des Syndicats du Québec (CSQ); Centrale des Syndicats Démocratiques (CSD); Québec Solidaire
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersNon-governmental organisations : Équiterre; Greenpeace; l’Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique; David Suzuki Foundation; Nature Québec; AVAAZ

Other groups : Opponents of hydraulic fracking on the Gaspé peninsula and the Île-de-la-Madeleine, and members of First Nations groups; Idle-No-More movement

The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Global warming, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Air pollution, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Oil spills, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Development of AlternativesAn independent strategic environmental assessment is required. Ensuring the sustainable future of Anticosti Island, future generations of Québec and global welfare necessitates the provincial government declaring a moratorium of oil and gas exploration on Anticosti
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The provincial governement has yet to make a decision as to whether to authorise extraction activity; there was a changeover of government from the Parti Québecois (PQ) (who had supported exploration) to the Québec Liberal Party which has maintained the position to allow prospecting for oil and gas on the island.
Sources and Materials

Bill 37
[click to view]


Council of Canadians - Fracking Across Canada
[click to view]


[click to view]

QC Shale Gas Debate
[click to view]

Une coalition veut un large debat public avant tout forage
[click to view]

Exploration petrolière au Québec
[click to view]

Shale Gas exploration-Anticosti
[click to view]

At least 12,000 petroleum wells to be tapped on Anticosti (in French)
[click to view]

Main information source on the conflict
[click to view]

Le piège du pétrole québécois
[click to view]

Anticosti Petroleum exploration (in French)
[click to view]

Avaaz petition
[click to view]

Citizens consultation (in French)
[click to view]

Anticosti: un pari-risqué (en français)
[click to view]

Energy dilemma encapsulated on tiny Quebec isle
[click to view]

Media Links

Video documentary
[click to view]

Vidéo: le film entier disponible sur Youtube / entire film on Youtube (in French)
[click to view]

Other Documents

Lake Castor
[click to view]

Shipwreck on Anticosti Source:
[click to view]

Area open for oil and gas exploration Source: Corridor Resources
[click to view]

Protest against shale gas exploration in Québec Source:
[click to view]

Initial exploration on Anticosti Source: LeDevoir
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorVijay Kolinjivadi, McGill University, [email protected]
Last update10/02/2015