Nexen (Eaten by CNOOC Ltd.; Feast enabled by Steve Harper) asks Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo for $19.5M tax break due to Long Lake blast. Brilliant comment by Shane Shaugnessy: “Our company killed a couple employees and damaged some important equipment. Due to these events we would like the opportunity to do less to support the communties we harm and pollute while still draining as much wealth and intellectual property back to China.”

Shane Shaugnessy
“Our company killed a couple employees and damaged some important equipment. Due to these events we would like the opportunity to do less to support the communties we harm and pollute while still draining as much wealth and intellectual property back to China.”

Domi Dom
Oh those poor Chinese National Oil Companies! Is this a joke?! That infuriates me.

Nexen asks Wood Buffalo for $19.5M tax break due to Long Lake blast by Reid Southwick, April 25, 2017, Calgary Herald

Nexen Energy ULC is seeking a $19.5-million tax break from the financially strapped Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to deal with losses at its Long Lake oilsands facility after a deadly explosion last year.

The blast at the Long Lake upgrader killed two workers and caused production setbacks for the Calgary-based subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned oil company CNOOC Ltd.

Nexen said last summer short-term repairs of the upgrader were unfeasible, which meant the facility would remain idle indefinitely, a decision that triggered 350 layoffs.

The company cited the inoperable upgrader when it requested the $19.5-million property tax break from Wood Buffalo. Municipal staff have recommended that council reject the request at tonight’s meeting.

In the same session, the politicians will also debate measures to deal with a $7.2-million deficit that hit the municipality’s books in 2016 amid an economic slump that drained revenues.

The municipality has slashed positions and other spending in an attempt to deal with the shortfall. Officials are looking for additional savings and may have to dip into a reserve fund.

An administration report on Nexen’s request said the municipality has given property tax breaks to residents who lost their homes to last year’s wildfire, but it has not afforded the same compensation for other properties.

The report noted Nexen’s idled upgrader will not be assessed in its 2017 tax bill, given that the facility was taken out of service before the Dec. 31 deadline.

“Changes in industrial properties due to damage to the machinery occur relatively frequently,” the report says.

Nexen blamed worker error after employees Dave Williams and Drew Foster were killed in the Long Lake blast. They had been changing valves at a hydrocracker Jan. 15 when the explosion hit, with Foster declared dead at the scene while Williams died in hospital.

The company said at a news conference mid-July the blast was caused by employees working outside their approved scope of duties at the hydrocracker, which is part of the facility’s bitumen upgrader.

Occupational Health and Safety investigated the explosion, but has not yet published its findings.

The blast is among a long list of setbacks that have bedevilled CNOOC since it bought Nexen in a blockbuster $15-billion deal in 2012.

A pipeline rupture in mid-2015 spilled an estimated five million litres of bitumen, water and sand at the Long Lake facility after the spill went undetected for more than a month. The company’s internal investigation uncovered flaws in the pipeline design and failures to discover it.

[Refer also to:

2016 07 13: NEXEN BLAMES WORKERS for major explosion that killed two at tarsands SAGD steam injection site near Fort McMurray

2015 09 16: Alberta Energy Regulator Theatrics? “No Duty of Care” AER Allows Resumption of 10 Production Pipelines at Nexen Long Lake; 45 Lines Remain Shut in

2015 04 30: What’s the AER really up to shutting down Nexen’s 95 pipeline licenses? Protti trying to save his job? Make Albertans forget the courts ruled that the regulator owes no duty of care to anyone no matter how badly harmed, and can violate our constitutional rights with complete legal immunity?

2015 07 19: AER orders “expectations” to Nexen over massive pipeline spill south of Fort McMurray, Alberta. Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation calls the break a tarsands milestone: “It is now home to the largest spill in Canadian history”


2012 12 07: Prime Minister Stephen Harper vows Chinese takeover of oil firm Nexen ‘the end of a trend.’ Long-awaited decision on CNOOC’s $15.1- billion bid for Calgary-based petroleum producer Nexen Inc.

OTTAWA — A Chinese state-owned oil giant is being allowed to expand its holdings in Canada’s oilpatch with a $15.1-billion buyout, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper says it won’t happen again.

In a long-awaited decision, the federal government announced CNOOC Ltd., controlled by Beijing, can take over Calgary-based Nexen Inc. in the largest acquisition yet of Canadian oil and gas riches by a Chinese company.

While green-lighting the sale, Harper said the mounting wave of takeovers of Canada’s oilsands by foreign state-owned firms has gone far enough and will not be allowed to continue except in “exceptional” circumstances.

“To be blunt, Canadians have not spent years reducing the ownership of sectors of the economy by our own governments, only to see them bought and controlled by foreign governments instead,” Harper told the media after the announcement Friday.

“The government’s concern and discomfort for some time has been that very quickly, a series of large-scale controlling transactions by foreign state-owned companies could rapidly transform this (oilsands) industry from one that is essentially a free market to one that is effectively under control of a foreign government.”

His tough tone and a series of stricter new guidelines announced Friday for foreign acquisitions of Canadian companies was clearly a response to the political minefield surrounding takeovers of Canadian natural resources by state-owned foreign enterprises, particularly from China.

CNOOC’s proposed acquisition of Nexen touched off widespread opposition among Canadians and caused a split within Harper’s Conservative caucus, with some Tory MPs saying companies controlled by Beijing shouldn’t be allowed to buy up Canada’s oil wealth. [AND WRECK HAVOC WITH THE ENVIRONMENT AND WORKER/PUBLIC SAFETY!]

But Harper has linked his government’s economic strategy to increasing trade with Asia and visited China last winter with the message that Canada is open for business. So rejecting CNOOC’s acquisition would have been seen as a slap in the face to the Chinese government and a serious setback in efforts to expand commercial relations.

“These were difficult decisions and there will be more difficult decisions in the future,” Harper said. 

The government also announced that Malaysian-owned Petronas’ $6 billion buyout of Progress Energy Resources qualifies as being of “net benefit” to Canada under the Investment Canada Act. That reverses an earlier rejection of that acquisition.

Under the new rules, takeovers of Canadian firms in the oilsands by foreign state-owned enterprises will be approved on only an “exceptional basis.” The government did not explain what those circumstances would be, saying all decisions on investments are one-off rulings.

While not specifically singling out China, Harper left little doubt that the government is concerned about the role of companies controlled by Beijing. The goals of state-owned enterprises “may go well beyond the commercial objectives of privately owned companies,” Harper said.

“The Government of Canada has determined that foreign state control of oilsands development has reached the point at which further foreign state control would not be of net benefit,” Harper said.

Over the next four years, the government will increase the threshold for reviews of takeovers by private companies under the Investment Canada Act to $1 billion. However, the threshold for review by state-owned companies will remain $330 million.

The government has been increasingly concerned by the trend of buyouts by foreign state-owned companies, which by 2011 had increased to 20 per cent of all takeovers reviewed by Industry Canada. That’s up from nearly zero in 2008.

In a statement, Industry Canada said such state-owned companies are “inherently susceptible” to foreign government influences.

NDP MP Peter Julian took aim at the government’s decision, saying it “rubber-stamped” the takeover and failed to protect the industry from future takeover bids.

“He approved the takeover but said next time we’ll be tougher,” Julian said. “It was tough talk but actions speak louder than words.”

But John Manley, president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, praised Friday’s decisions.

“Based on a preliminary review, it appears that the guidelines introduced today will safeguard the national interest while ensuring that Canadians continue to reap the benefits of a welcoming approach to foreign investment,” Manley said. [Emphasis added]


University Alberta Researchers say Alberta drastically under-reports workplace injuries

Alberta workplace fatalities close to record numbers in 2013, led by a near doubling of fatalities caused by occupational disease

Business Insurance: Oil boom and fracking cause spike in energy industry workplace deaths. Do you have copies of Commercial Liability Insurance Coverage for companies operating near your home and loved ones?

Workplace Deaths Drop – But not in the Oil Industry

Is “Best in Class, Shut the Frack Up” AER a regulator or abusive enabler of deadly harm? ]

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