How We Work with Communities

Discussing project plans with stakeholders at Nexen's Anzac, Alberta, office.

Engaging With Integrity
Operating with integrity is a cornerstone of Nexen’s culture and a guiding value for engagement. Nexen demonstrates respect for stakeholders and indigenous communities through early and ongoing engagement, ensuring alignment with our values and business principles.

Effective engagement plays an essential role in earning and maintaining Nexen’s social license to operate by building trust-based relationships and establishing an open dialogue. In turn, this helps identify concerns, create opportunities and provide benefits to Nexen and the stakeholders affected by our business activities.

A Gathering Place: Nexen’s Anzac Community Office
For most energy companies in the oil sands region, business meetings and stakeholder consultation take place in Fort McMurray. But Nexen took a different approach: We made a deliberate decision to locate our Community Affairs office in the hamlet of Anzac, 45 kilometers southeast of Fort McMurray. Anzac is the closest community to our Long Lake operations and its residents, along with the First Nations and Métis communities in the region south of Fort McMurray, are most affected by our operations.

The Anzac Community Affairs office coordinates consultation, local business development and community investment for Nexen’s oil sands operations. Its location promotes more interaction in a convenient and accessible manner.

In 2014, Nexen representatives based in Anzac began meeting with various non-profit and social agencies in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, to gain a deeper understanding of the organizations’ mandates and to create funding relationships that reflect Nexen’s culture and values.

We are taking a proactive, planned and comprehensive approach to community support that allows us to build relationships with our funded organizations. Our objective of creating long-term donation agreements provides funding certainty to organizations so they can focus on their core missions. We continue meeting with agencies and organizations in our region to provide strategic support.

Involvement with Local Issues
Nexen supports and has representatives working with many local and regional organizations and associations. Organizations such as the Willow Lake Traffic Working Group and the Coalition for a Safer 63 and 881 lead the drive to improve road safety and encourage safe driving habits. Another key linkage is with the Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association (NAABA) – a non-profit organization of Aboriginal businesses committed to enhancing and creating an environment that promotes businesses, jobs and training for the betterment of all Aboriginal people in the region.

Representatives of Nexen and our joint venture partner INPEX GAS British Columbia joined government, industry, local and Aboriginal stakeholders to mark the opening of the Tsea Compression Station in the Horn River Basin in October 2012.

Responsible Development

With significant development planned for the region, we have a dedicated team of community involvement and Aboriginal Relations professionals working with local stakeholders to earn and maintain their trust throughout the life of the project. The team’s activities include:

  • Working with governments and local business to build capacity to share in the economic benefits of shale gas development.
  • Participating in public meetings to keep local residents informed of our activities.
  • Establishing a storefront office in Fort Nelson, British Columbia, Canada, the community nearest to our shale gas operations, where stakeholders can meet face-to-face with Nexen representatives.
  • Providing financial and in-kind support for community and charitable events.
  • Collaborating with other shale gas developers through the Horn River Basin Producers Group. This joint industry initiative works together to understand stakeholder concerns, reduce environmental impacts through shared infrastructure and other means, as well as maximize economic benefits for the region.
  • Partnering with industry associations - Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources – to develop best practices and educational resources related to shale gas development.

A Nexen employee (left) talks to a landowner at a Balzac, Alberta, open house.

Keeping in Touch During Gas Plant Reclamation and Remediation

While the closure of the Balzac, Alberta, gas plant in 2011 marked the end of 50 years of operation, we continue to work in the community. Decommissioning, reclamation and remediation activities will take place over many years, led by our team of environmental and project professionals.

“Although the focus of our activity has changed, our commitment to the surrounding community stays strong,” says Lynn McQueen, Analyst, Social Responsibility. “By operating safely and responsibly over the last five decades, Nexen earned the respect of the community. This reputation is of extreme importance to us.”

One of the ways to maintain this relationship is through open communication with stakeholders. Updates on the activities at Balzac are posted regularly on our website and in our Community Matters newsletter. Since decommissioning began in late 2011, we have hosted three open houses at the Balzac Community Hall. Nexen continues to support community events such as the Women’s Farm Day. We are long-standing members of the Balzac Business Community Association and also make presentations on our activities to Rocky View County Council and northeast Calgary community associations.

Another initiative is Nexen’s Balzac Heritage Project, which aims to further strengthen the ties we have with the surrounding community. We’ve donated $70,000 over two years to the Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC) to support the protection of bird species and other wildlife. The AIWC, located in Rocky View County, helps to rehabilitate and release about 2,000 injured wildlife per year. Other projects are under consideration for support.

“Balzac has certainly set the bar for community involvement,” says Lynn. “We have learned a lot about the value of positive engagement here and continue to apply those lessons throughout all of our operations.”