Premier Pauline Marois made the last minute announcement late this afternoon in Montreal along with her finance, environment and natural resources ministers.
The deal with Petrolia means a $100 million dollar investment by the government and the company along with associate partners; the agreement in principle with Junex means a $90-million dollar investment. The government is kicking in almost $115-million dollars. The government would get a majority share of the land permits and benefits linked to the projects.
The first phase of the project involves seeing what type and how much oil they may find; the second phase determines if recuperating the oil is viable.
If it all works out, the Quebec government foresees economic spin-offs estimated at $45-billion over 30 years.
On the risk involved, Premier Marois said there have been bigger risks in projects just as big, adding they've taken risks before and this is a reasonable one.
Marois dismissed notions that this announcement was pre-election strategy, insisting they've been working on this since June 2012.
"A long time ago, we had a discussion in my party and we decided to go in this direction," Marois told a news conference.
"That is not for the election that has not been announced (...)."
The drilling work is expected to get underway this summer.