07/04/2011 07:30 EDT | Updated 09/03/2011 05:12 EDT

Drilling Rights In Northern Canada Awarded To 5 Firms

CBC -- The federal government announced the winning bids on Monday for oil and gas exploration in Canada's north.

The Northern Oil and Gas Directorate of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development granted five companies rights on the promise they will spend more than half a billion dollars on exploration over the next four years.

Husky Energy was the most aggressive spender, winning the right to two parcels between Norman Wells and Tulita in the central Mackenzie Valley with a commitment of almost $380 million.

ConocoPhillips Canada Resources pledged to investment $67 million developing one parcel while Shell Canada and Imperial Oil each bid $43 million. Shell won the rights on three parcels and Imperial, along with its parent, ExxonMobil, will develop two areas. MGM Energy committed to $5 million on three properties.

In the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Energy & Minerals Limited successfully bid for two properties for $1 million each.