A New Oil and Gas Legal and Regulatory Framework for Quebec

The government of Quebec confirmed the coming into force of the Petroleum Resources Act (PRA) and published the final version of the related regulations. The PRA and related regulations will govern the development of the oil and gas resources in Quebec as of 20 September.  
 
While the PRA provides significant opportunities to balance environmental protection, human safety, and the aim of unlocking its oil and gas potential for the economic benefit of the province, the PRA regulations contain a complex and restrictive framework for oil and gas development and related activities in Quebec. It is likely that the framework will have a negative effect on a number of oil and gas development projects in the province. A majority of the most restrictive provisions were introduced in amended draft regulations published in June 2018.  

These include:

  • A complete prohibition of hydraulic fracturing in shale
  • A complete prohibition of hydraulic fracturing within the first 1,000 m from the surface
  • A complete prohibition of exploration and production of hydrocarbons in and within 1,000 m from urbanized areas, as well as within same distance from a body of water
  • Extended buffer zones for certain activities

Several other aspects of the PRA framework may pose significant challenges for the development of oil and gas resources in the province. Only time will tell whether the new framework will hinder or spur the development of the province's resources in a meaningful way.

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