One of Nexen's 'darkest days': CEO apologizes for deadly plant explosion

The CEO of Nexen has apologized for an explosion at the company’s oilsands facility near Fort McMurray, Alta., which left one worker dead and another in serious condition.

See Full Article

Fang Zhi said at a press conference on Saturday that the explosion, which occurred Friday afternoon at Nexen’s Long Lake facility in Anzac, marked one of the "darkest days" in his company's history.

"But no matter how badly we feel, it pales in comparison to the pain that two of our employees' families are experiencing," said Zhi.

"Our thoughts are with the families."

Ron Bailey, the company’s senior vice-president of Canadian operations, also expressed his sadness over the incident.

"Having a fatality, or someone seriously injured, is our worst nightmare," said Bailey.

"I cannot imagine the pain and devastation that this has caused for the families, and for that we're sorry."

Bailey said that the two employees worked in maintenance.

He added that the seriously injured employee was taken to hospital, and has since been transferred to a burn unit in Edmonton.

Bailey said the employees' names will not be released "out of respect for the families."

In light of the incident, operations at the site are being almost "completely" shut down.

"Obviously the primary focus right now is the safety and well-being of our people, and we actually need to bring the facilities down in a safe way," said Bailey.

Bailey said the company believes the explosion originated from a compressor building that is part of the facility's hydrocracker unit, which refines gas oil into a "lighter oil product that can be shipped as premium synthetic crude."

He added that the facility was shut down "as quickly as possible" and has been "stabilized."

Bailey said the building was undergoing maintenance at the time of the incident.

However, he said that the company does not know what triggered the explosion and has not had full access to the site since the explosion occurred.

"We're going to be investigating the incident and trying to find the root cause," said Bailey.

"I couldn't even speculate today how long that will be," he added.

The company, which is owned by China's state oil company, CNOOC Ltd., had its pipeline licence at the Long Lake facility suspended on Aug. 28.

At the time, the Alberta Energy Regulator said Nexen was not complying with pipeline maintenance and monitoring regulations.

The AER allowed the company to partially resume operations just over a week later.

On Saturday, Bailey said the issues were not related to Friday's explosion.

Bailey added that CNOOC has an "extremely high standard of safety" and will continue to work to improve.

"We can't speculate on the cause of this accident, whether it had anything to do with our culture at this point in time or not," he said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Harry and Meghan urge action against hate speech ahead of U.S. election

    World News CTV News
    The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have weighed in on the upcoming U.S. presidential vote, urging people to reject online negativity and hate speech as what Meghan described as "the most important election of our lifetime" approaches. Source
  • Four arrested after Black man's body found burning in a ditch in Iowa

    World News CTV News
    Authorities have arrested three men and one woman in connection with the death of a Black man whose burning body was found in a ditch in rural Iowa. One of men arrested, 31-year-old Steven Vogel, who is white, was already in jail on unrelated charges and is now facing charges of first-degree murder and abuse of a corpse, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Source
  • Paris police barricade Eiffel Tower after bomb threat

    World News CTV News
    Paris police have blockaded the area around the Eiffel Tower after a phone-in bomb threat. Police cars and tape surrounded the streets below the tower and the bridge stretching across the Seine River to Trocadero Plaza. Source
  • U.K. government defends new virus strategy; experts skeptical

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- The British government on Wednesday defended its strategy for combatting a second wave of COVID-19 cases amid criticism that its new slate of restrictions will not be enough to stop an exponential spread of the coronavirus. Source
  • It's not over: Post-tropical storm Teddy makes landfall in Nova Scotia

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- The centre of post-tropical storm Teddy made landfall in eastern Nova Scotia this morning, delivering another round of punishing winds and heavy rain to a province that has already had plenty of both. Meteorologists say the storm arrived near Sheet Harbour, about 115 kilometres east of Halifax, around 8 a.m. Source
  • Russian opposition leader Navalny released from German hospital after 32 days following poisoning

    World News CBC News
    The German hospital treating Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny for poisoning said Wednesday that his condition improved enough for him to be released, and suggested a "complete recovery" from the nerve agent was possible. Navalny, 44, spent 32 days in treatment in Berlin's Charite hospital, 24 of which were in intensive care, before doctors deemed his "condition had improved sufficiently for him to be discharged from acute inpatient care. Source
  • President of Belarus inaugurated despite disputed election

    World News CTV News
    KYIV, UKRAINE -- President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus has assumed his sixth term of office in an inauguration ceremony that wasn't announced in advance. State news agency Beltra reported that Wednesday's ceremony is taking place in the capital of Minsk, with several hundred top government official present. Source
  • Now a post-tropical storm, Teddy lands in Nova Scotia

    Canada News CBC News
    Teddy has arrived in Nova Scotia as a post-tropical storm, bringing plenty of wind and rain for the province on Wednesday. It made landfall in the Sheet Harbour area on the province's Eastern Shore around 7:30 a.m. Source
  • Sherpa guide who climbed Everest 10 times cremated in Nepal

    World News CTV News
    KATHMANDU, NEPAL -- Hundreds of government officials, mountaineers, fellow Sherpa guides and supporters gathered in Nepal on Wednesday to mourn the veteran guide who was the first person to climb Mount Everest 10 times. The body of Ang Rita was cremated Wednesday according to Buddhist rituals two days after he died. Source
  • Lights, camera, action: Low COVID numbers in N.S. create boom in film industry

    Canada News CBC News
    Nova Scotia's film industry is enjoying a rare boom this fall. Those in the business give much of the credit to the province's low rate of COVID-19. More than a dozen large and small productions got started mid-summer and are continuing into the fall. Source