Emergency Preparedness

Being Prepared - A 24/7 Responsibility

Producing energy is a 24/7 business and so is emergency preparedness. Nexen has plans in place to respond to incidents everywhere we operate or where we have joint venture partnerships. Nexen has highly trained specialists and resources ready at all levels of the organization, from site and field first responders to Crisis Management teams. Protecting our employees, the public, the environment and corporate assets is not just a regulatory requirement - it’s a commitment Nexen makes as a responsible energy developer.

Our first priority is preventing incidents from occurring. We do this by providing a high degree of stewardship, risk assessment and scrutiny of major accident hazards through our process safety management system and personnel training programs. Our hazard analysis and risk assessment processes allow us to identify potential emergency event scenarios and allow operations to conduct training and response exercises that would help mitigate threats.

Practice Makes Perfect

Emergency situations are chaotic, fast-moving and potentially dangerous, which is why continuous training, rehearsing and testing are essential. Nexen uses the internationally recognized Incident Command System as a basis for emergency management philosophy.

Tabletop exercises are part of the testing and measurement processes for our emergency management system. These are theoretical scenarios we conduct in an office environment. Emergency response team members are provided with event parameters and work together to test processes within the plans. A specific scenario may be escalated during a training exercise and role-playing is used to test individual capabilities and identify opportunities for improvement.

Emergency response drills involve full activation of our company's functional emergency response plans, personnel and external resources. Drills may also involve regulatory agencies and industry peers as participants or observers. Lessons learned are incorporated as plan updates and shared across our organization.

Watch this video to learn about how the crew onboard Golden Eagle demonstrates Nexen's Safety First culture through employee engagement, safety leadership and regular emergency exercises.

Emergency Response in the UK North Sea

Nexen UK has a robust emergency response organisation in place to support its offshore activities in the UK Continental Shelf. Nexen UK uses the Incident Command System which is a standardised approach to the command, control and coordination of emergency response. The Nexen Incident Management Team (IMT) is on call 24/7 to support offshore emergencies. 

Each Nexen UK operated asset responds to incidents using site specific emergency response plans, with onshore support responding where required in conjunction with Nexen’s onshore emergency response procedures. Each offshore asset has specialised and dedicated Emergency Response Teams (ERT’s), who will respond as required depending on the incident.

Nexen UK has an annual program designed to ensure all on-call and ERT personnel exercise and retain their skills through regular practice sessions both on and offshore. 

Oil Spill Prevention & Response in the UK North Sea

A large number of Nexen personnel are trained to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) (previously DECC) Level 3 – Onshore Emergency Responder, which is refreshed every three years. Nexen is required to run one major oil spill exercise every three years, which includes involvement of the UK Secretary of States Representative for Maritime Salvage and intervention (UK SOSREP), and the government representative who co-ordinates the response to major spill incidents within the UK.

Nexen UK has access to the services of Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL), which includes technical support in the event of a spill, access to aerial surveillance aircraft, aerial dispersant spraying aircraft, a UK based 500 ton dispersant stockpile, and a large inventory of booms, skimmers and other clean-up equipment. The service also allows Nexen to access a UK based capping tool – the UK Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group (OSPRAG) Cap. This tool was built as part of a collaborative effort among the offshore oil and gas industry, regulatory agencies and trade unions to coordinate the UK’s response to the safety, environmental and commercial issues arising from the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico.


The Nexen emergency response organization is based on the Incident Command System (ICS). ICS is a standardized on-scene emergency management system specifically designed to allow users to adopt and integrate an organization structure equal to the complexity and demands of single or multiple incidents without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries.

Operations and projects in Nexen field locations respond to incidents using site-specific emergency response plans and an Incident Command team to deal immediately with threats to personnel, the environment and property. Typical Incident Command Team tasks include spill response, source control, fire response, medical aid, evacuation, safety and security. Depending on the incident, these tasks may take place in conjunction with other specialized teams responsible for firefighting, medical, technical rescue, etc.

In addition, the Regional Emergency Management Support Teams for NE BC and Oil Sands provides advice and required resources or tactical support to the Incident Command Team. The Regional Emergency Management Support Team evaluates potential short and longer-term impacts and threats to Nexen.

Emergency Response Exercises

In Canada, Nexen conducts major emergency response exercises annually to ensure that all designated personnel retain their skills and knowledge through regular practice sessions.

Under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), our Oil Sands division is required to conduct an annual exercise. In 2014, the exercise was conducted on June 3 and exercised our response to a multi-vehicle collision and fire at our Long Lake Oil Sands facility.