Nexen Energy pleads not guilty to charges related to fatal Alberta oilsands explosion

Explosion site at Nexen's Long Lake facility. Half of a building's roof and wall blown off. Global News

Nexen Energy has pleaded not guilty to eight charges related to a deadly explosion at its Long Lake facility more than two years ago.

The explosion happened in January 2016 at the facility near Anzac, Alta. The blast occurred inside a building in the compressed gas area of the facility as workers were changing out valves on a compressor.

READ MORE: ‘Dark day’ for Nexen after fatal explosion at oilsands site near Fort McMurray

Drew Foster, 52, was killed in the blast. His co-worker Dave Williams, 30, died in hospital about 10 days after the explosion.

In July 2016, Nexen executives said the cause of the explosion was the employees themselves.

READ MORE: Employees caused Nexen Long Lake explosion, company executives say

Ron Bailey, senior vice-president of Canadian operations, said Williams and Foster were working outside the scope of their approved work activities when the explosion happened.

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Nexen was charged in December with the following offences:

  • Two counts of failure to ensure the health and safety of a worker
  • Two counts of failure to ensure all workers were familiar with implemented procedures and measures implemented at the work site
  • Four counts of failure to ensure equipment was serviced, maintained, repaired or dismantled in accordance with specifications by a certified engineer or the manufacturer

A trial date is to be set in Fort McMurray court on May 16.

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