Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border, its capital is Ottawa, its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra, its population is urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons. Various indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century and French expeditions explored, settled, along the Atlantic coast.
As a consequence of various armed conflicts, France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces; this began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with Elizabeth II as its queen and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the federal cabinet and head of government; the country is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie and bilingual at the federal level. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, education.
It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture. A developed country, Canada has the sixteenth-highest nominal per capita income globally as well as the twelfth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index, its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada is part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G7, the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. While a variety of theories have been postulated for the etymological origins of Canada, the name is now accepted as coming from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement".
In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona. Cartier used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village but to the entire area subject to Donnacona. From the 16th to the early 18th century "Canada" referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River. In 1791, the area became two British colonies called Upper Canada and Lower Canada collectively named the Canadas. Upon Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country at the London Conference, the word Dominion was conferred as the country's title. By the 1950s, the term Dominion of Canada was no longer used by the United Kingdom, which considered Canada a "Realm of the Commonwealth"; the government of Louis St. Laurent ended the practice of using'Dominion' in the Statutes of Canada in 1951. In 1982, the passage of the Canada Act, bringing the Constitution of Canada under Canadian control, referred only to Canada, that year the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day.
The term Dominion was used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces, though after the Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion. Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Métis, the last being a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers; the term "Aboriginal" as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act 1982. The first inhabitants of North America are hypothesized to have migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 14,000 years ago; the Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada. The characteristics of Canadian indigenous societies included permanent settlements, complex societal hierarchies, trading networks; some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.
The indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000
Athabasca oil sands
The Athabasca oil sands are large deposits of bitumen or heavy crude oil, located in northeastern Alberta, Canada – centred on the boomtown of Fort McMurray. These oil sands, hosted in the McMurray Formation, consist of a mixture of crude bitumen, silica sand, clay minerals, water; the Athabasca deposit is the largest known reservoir of crude bitumen in the world and the largest of three major oil sands deposits in Alberta, along with the nearby Peace River and Cold Lake deposits. Together, these oil sand deposits lie under 141,000 square kilometres of boreal forest and muskeg and contain about 1.7 trillion barrels of bitumen in-place, comparable in magnitude to the world's total proven reserves of conventional petroleum. The International Energy Agency lists the economically recoverable reserves, at 2007 prices and modern unconventional oil production technology, to be 178 billion barrels, or about 10% of these deposits; these contribute to Canada's total proven reserves being the third largest in the world, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela's Orinoco Belt.
By 2009, the two extraction methods used were in situ extraction, when the bitumen occurs deeper within the ground, surface or open-pit mining, when the bitumen is closer to the surface. Only 20 percent of bitumen can be extracted using open pit mining methods, which involves large scale excavation of the land with huge hydraulic power shovels and 400-ton heavy hauler trucks. Surface mining leaves toxic tailings ponds. In contrast, in situ uses more specialized techniques such as steam-assisted gravity drainage. "Eighty percent of the oil sands will be developed in situ which accounts for 97.5 percent of the total surface area of the oil sands region in Alberta." In 2006 the Athabasca deposit was the only large oil sands reservoir in the world, suitable for large-scale surface mining, although most of this reservoir can only be produced using more developed in-situ technology. Critics contend that government and industry measures taken to reduce environmental and health risks posed by large-scale mining operations are inadequate, causing unacceptable damage to the natural environment and human welfare.
Objective discussion of the environmental impacts has been clouded by polarized arguments from industry and from advocacy groups. The Athabasca oil sands are named after the Athabasca River which cuts through the heart of the deposit, traces of the heavy oil are observed on the river banks; the bitumen was used by the indigenous Cree and Dene Aboriginal peoples to waterproof their canoes. The oil deposits are located within the boundaries of Treaty 8, several First Nations of the area are involved with the sands; the Athabasca oil sands first came to the attention of European fur traders in 1719 when Wa-pa-su, a Cree trader, brought a sample of bituminous sands to the Hudson's Bay Company post at York Factory on Hudson Bay where Henry Kelsey was the manager. In 1778, Peter Pond, another fur trader and a founder of the rival North West Company, became the first European to see the Athabasca deposits after exploring the Methye Portage which allowed access to the rich fur resources of the Athabasca River system from the Hudson Bay watershed.
In 1788, fur trader Alexander Mackenzie, after whom the Mackenzie River was named, traveled along routes to both the Arctic and Pacific Ocean wrote: "At about 24 miles from the fork are some bituminous fountains into which a pole of 20 feet long may be inserted without the least resistance. The bitumen is in a fluid state and when mixed with gum, the resinous substance collected from the spruce fir, it serves to gum the Indians' canoes." He was followed in 1799 by mapmaker David Thompson and in 1819 by British Naval officer John Franklin. John Richardson did the first serious scientific assessment of the oil sands in 1848 on his way north to search for Franklin's lost expedition; the first government-sponsored survey of the oil sands was initiated in 1875 by John Macoun, in 1883, G. C. Hoffman of the Geological Survey of Canada tried separating the bitumen from oil sand with the use of water and reported that it separated readily. In 1888, Robert Bell, the director of the Geological Survey of Canada, reported to a Senate Committee that "The evidence... points to the existence in the Athabasca and Mackenzie valleys of the most extensive petroleum field in America, if not the world."
Count Alfred von Hammerstein, who arrived in the region in 1897, promoted the Athabaska oil sands for over forty years, taking photos with descriptive titles such as "Tar Sands and Flowing Asphaltum in the Athabasca District," that are now in the National Library and National Archives Canada. Photos of the Athabasca oil sands were featured in Canadian writer and adventurer, Agnes Deans Cameron's, best-selling book entitled The New North: Being Some Account of a Woman's Journey through Canada to the Arctic which recounted her 10,000 mi roundtrip to the Arctic Ocean. Following this journey and the publication of her book, she travelled extensively as lecturer, with magic lantern slides of her Kodak images, promoting immigration to western Canada at Oxford, Cambridge, St. Andrew's University and the Royal Geographical Society, her photographs were reproduced in 2011-2012 in an exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa, Canada. Cameron was enthusiastic about the Athabaska region and the Athabaska oil sands which included photos of Count Alfred
Fort McMurray is a population centre, technically classified as an urban service area, in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo in Alberta, Canada. It is located in northeast Alberta, in the middle of the Athabasca oil sands, surrounded by boreal forest, it has played a significant role in the development of the national petroleum industry. A severe wildfire in May 2016 caused widespread damage. A city, Fort McMurray became an urban service area when it amalgamated with Improvement District No. 143 on April 1, 1995, to create the Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Despite its current official designation of urban service area, many locals and the media still refer to Fort McMurray as a city. Fort McMurray was known as McMurray between 1947 and 1962. Before the arrival of Europeans in the late 18th Century, the Cree were the dominant First Nations people in the Fort McMurray area; the Athabasca oil sands were known to the locals and the surface deposits were used to waterproof their canoes. In fur trade days the location of Fort McMurray was an important junction on the fur trade route from eastern Canada to the Athabasca country.
In 1778, the first European explorer, Peter Pond, came to the region in search of furs, as the European demand for this commodity at the time was strong. Pond explored the region farther south along the Athabasca River and the Clearwater River, but chose to set up a trading post much farther north by the Athabasca River near Lake Athabasca. However, his post closed in 1788 in favour of Fort Chipewyan, now the oldest continuous settlement in Alberta. In 1790, the explorer Alexander MacKenzie made the first recorded description of the oil sands. By that time, trading between the explorers and the Cree was occurring at the confluence of the Clearwater and Athabasca Rivers; the Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company were in fierce competition in this region. Fort McMurray was established there as a Hudson's Bay Company post by 1870, named for Factor William McMurray, it continued to operate as a transportation stopover in the decades afterwards. The Alberta and Great Waterways Railway arrived in 1915 complementing existing steamboat service.
The community has played a significant role in the history of the petroleum industry in Canada. Oil exploration is known to have occurred in the early 20th century, but Fort McMurray's population remained small, no more than a few hundred people. By 1921, there was serious interest in developing a refining plant to separate the oil from the sands. Alcan Oil Company was the first outfit to begin bulk tests at Fort McMurray; the nearby community of Waterways was established to provide a terminus for waterborne transportation, until 1925, when the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway reached there. Abasands Oil was the first company to extract oil from the oil sands through hot water extraction by the 1930s, but production was low. Fort McMurray's processing output grew to over 1,100 barrels/day by World War II, Fort McMurray was set up by the US and Canadian forces as staging ground for the Canol project. Fort McMurray and Waterways amalgamated as the village of McMurray by 1947, became a town a year later.
Fort McMurray was granted the status of new town. By 1966, the town's population was over 2,000. In 1967, the Great Canadian Oil Sands plant opened and Fort McMurray's growth soon took off. More oil sands plants were opened after 1973 and 1979, when serious political tensions and conflicts in the Middle East triggered oil price spikes; the population of the town reached 6,847 by 1971 and climbed to 31,000 by 1981, a year after its incorporation as a city. The city continued to grow for a few years after the oil bust caused by the collapse in world oil prices; the population peaked at 37,000 in 1985 declined to under 34,000 by 1989. Low oil prices since the oil price collapse in 1986 slowed the oil sands production as oil extraction from the oil sands is a expensive process and lower world prices made this uneconomical. Oil price increases since 2003 made oil extraction profitable again for around a decade, until another slump in oil prices which began in December 2014 and deepened in 2015 resulted in layoffs and postponement of projects.
On April 1, 1995, the City of Fort McMurray and Improvement District No. 143 were amalgamated to form the Municipality of Wood Buffalo. The new municipality was subsequently renamed the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo on August 14, 1996; as a result, Fort McMurray was no longer designated a city. Instead, it was designated an urban service area within a specialized municipality; the amalgamation resulted in the entire RM of Wood Buffalo being under a single government. Its municipal office is located in Fort McMurray. On May 3, 2016, a large wildfire burning southwest of Fort McMurray resulted in the mandatory evacuation of the city. Record-breaking temperatures, reaching 32.8 °C, low relative humidity and strong winds contributed to the fire's rapid growth in forests affected by "an unusually dry and warm winter". More than 100,000 people in the city and surrounding region were evacuated, it was Canada's largest recorded wildfire evacuation in history and third-largest recorded environmental disaster evacuation behind the 1979 Mississauga train derailment and the 1950 Red River flood.
About one-fifth of homes in the city were reported to be destroyed in the fire. Fort McMurray is 435 kilometres northeast of Edmonton on Highway 63, about 60 kilometres west of the Saskatchewa
Not to be confused with Canadian Transportation Agency. Transport Canada is the department within the Government of Canada responsible for developing regulations and services of transportation in Canada, it is part of the Transportation and Communities portfolio. The current Minister of Transport is Marc Garneau. Transport Canada is headquartered in Ontario; the Department of Transport was created in 1935 by the government of William Lyon Mackenzie King in recognition of the changing transportation environment in Canada at the time. It merged three departments: the former Department of Railways and Canals, the Department of Marine and Fisheries, the Civil Aviation Branch of the Department of National Defence under C. D. Howe, who would use the portfolio to rationalize the governance and provision of all forms of transportation, he created Trans-Canada Air Lines. The Department of Transport Act came into force November 2, 1936. Prior to a 1994 federal government reorganization, Transport Canada had a wide range of operational responsibilities including the Canadian Coast Guard, the Saint Lawrence Seaway and seaports, as well as Via Rail and CN Rail.
Significant cuts to Transport Canada at that time resulted in CN Rail being privatized, the coast guard being transferred to Fisheries and Oceans, the seaway and various ports and airports being transferred to local operating authorities. Transport Canada emerged from this process as a department focused on policy and regulation rather than transportation operations. In 2004, Transport Canada introduced non-passenger screening to enhance both airport and civil aviation security. Transport Canada's headquarters are located in Ottawa at Place de Ville, Tower C. Transport Canada has regional headquarters in: Vancouver – Government of Canada Building on Burrard Street and Robson Street Edmonton – Canada Place, 9700 Jasper Avenue NW Winnipeg – Macdonald Building, 344 Edmonton Street Toronto – Government of Canada Building, 4900 Yonge Street Dorval – Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport, 700 Place Leigh-Capreol Moncton – Heritage Building, 95 Foundry Street Minister of Transport Marc GarneauDeputy Minister, Transport Canada Michael KeenanAssociate Deputy Minister, Thao Pham Assistant Deputy Minister and Security, Kevin Brousseau Associate Assistant Deputy Minister and Security, Aaron McCrombie Assistant Deputy Minister, Pierre-Marc Mongeau Associate Assistant Deputy Minister and Lead, Navigation Protection Act Review, Catherine Higgens Assistant Deputy Minister, Lawrence Hanson Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate Services, André Lapointe Assistant Deputy Minister, Natasha Rascanin Director General, Corporate Secretariat, Tom Oommen Director General and Marketing, Dan Dugas Regional Director General, Atlantic Region, Ann Mowatt Regional Director General, Quebec Region, Albert Deschamps Regional Director General, Ontario Region, Tamara Rudge Regional Director General and Northern Region, Michele Taylor Regional Director General, Pacific Region, Robert Dick Departmental General Counsel, Henry K. Schultz Chief Audit and Evaluation Executive, Martin Rubenstein Transport Canada is responsible for enforcing several Canadian legislation, including the Aeronautics Act, Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, Motor Vehicle Safety Act, Canada Transportation Act, Railway Safety Act, Canada Shipping Act, 2001, Marine Transportation Security Act amongst others.
Each inspector with delegated power from the Minister of Transport receives official credentials to exercise their power, as shown on the right. These inspectors are public officers identified within the Criminal Code of Canada; the Motor Vehicle Safety Act was established in 1971 in order to create safety standards for cars in Canada. The department acts as the federal government's funding partner with provincial transport ministries on jointly-funded provincial transportation infrastructure projects for new highways. TC manage a database of traffic collisions in Canada. Transport Canada's role in railways include: railway safety surface and intermodal security strategies for rail travel accessibility safety of federally regulated railway bridges safety and security of international bridges and tunnels Inspecting and testing traffic control signals, grade crossing warning systems rail operating rules regulations and services for safe transport of dangerous goods Canadian Transport Emergency Centre to assist emergency response and handling dangerous goods emergenciesFollowing allegations by shippers of service level deterioration, on April 7, 2008, the federal government of Canada launched a review of railway freight service within the country.
Transport Canada, managing the review, plans to investigate the relationships between Canadian shippers and the rail industry with regards to the two largest railroad companies in the country, Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway. On June 26, 2013, the Fair Rail Freight Service Act became law, a response to the Rail Freight Service Review’s Final Report. Transport Canada is responsible for the waterways inside and surrounding Canada; these responsibilities include: responding and investigating marine accidents within Canadian waters enforcing marine acts and regulations establishing and enforcing marine personnel standards and pilotage Marine Safety Marine Security regulating the operation of marine vessels in Canadian watersAs of 2003 the Office of Boating Safety and the Navigable Waters Protection Program were transferred back to Transport Canada. As was certain regulatory aspects of Emergen
Alberta is a western province of Canada. With an estimated population of 4,067,175 as of 2016 census, it is Canada's fourth most populous province and the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces, its area is about 660,000 square kilometres. Alberta and its neighbour Saskatchewan were districts of the Northwest Territories until they were established as provinces on September 1, 1905; the premier has been Rachel Notley since May 2015. Alberta is bounded by the provinces of British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, the U. S. state of Montana to the south. Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single U. S. state and one of only two landlocked provinces. It has a predominantly humid continental climate, with stark contrasts over a year. Alberta's capital, Edmonton, is near the geographic centre of the province and is the primary supply and service hub for Canada's crude oil, the Athabasca oil sands and other northern resource industries.
About 290 km south of the capital is the largest city in Alberta. Calgary and Edmonton centre Alberta's two census metropolitan areas, both of which have populations exceeding one million, while the province has 16 census agglomerations. Tourist destinations in the province include Banff, Drumheller, Sylvan Lake and Lake Louise. Alberta is named after the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. Princess Louise was the wife of Marquess of Lorne, Governor General of Canada. Lake Louise and Mount Alberta were named in her honour. Alberta, with an area of 661,848 km2, is the fourth-largest province after Quebec and British Columbia. To the south, the province borders on the 49th parallel north, separating it from the U. S. state of Montana, while to the north the 60th parallel north divides it from the Northwest Territories. To the east, the 110th meridian west separates it from the province of Saskatchewan, while on the west its boundary with British Columbia follows the 120th meridian west south from the Northwest Territories at 60°N until it reaches the Continental Divide at the Rocky Mountains, from that point follows the line of peaks marking the Continental Divide in a southeasterly direction until it reaches the Montana border at 49°N.
The province extends 660 km east to west at its maximum width. Its highest point is 3,747 m at the summit of Mount Columbia in the Rocky Mountains along the southwest border while its lowest point is 152 m on the Slave River in Wood Buffalo National Park in the northeast. With the exception of the semi-arid steppe of the south-eastern section, the province has adequate water resources. There are numerous lakes used for swimming, fishing and a range of water sports. There are three large lakes, Lake Claire in Wood Buffalo National Park, Lesser Slave Lake, Lake Athabasca which lies in both Alberta and Saskatchewan; the longest river in the province is the Athabasca River which travels 1,538 km from the Columbia Icefield in the Rocky Mountains to Lake Athabasca. The largest river is the Peace River with an average flow of 2161 m3/s; the Peace River originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows through northern Alberta and into the Slave River, a tributary of the Mackenzie River.
Alberta's capital city, Edmonton, is located at about the geographic centre of the province. It is the most northerly major city in Canada, serves as a gateway and hub for resource development in northern Canada; the region, with its proximity to Canada's largest oil fields, has most of western Canada's oil refinery capacity. Calgary is about 280 km south of Edmonton and 240 km north of Montana, surrounded by extensive ranching country. 75% of the province's population lives in the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor. The land grant policy to the railroads served as a means to populate the province in its early years. Most of the northern half of the province is boreal forest, while the Rocky Mountains along the southwestern boundary are forested; the southern quarter of the province is prairie, ranging from shortgrass prairie in the southeastern corner to mixed grass prairie in an arc to the west and north of it. The central aspen parkland region extending in a broad arc between the prairies and the forests, from Calgary, north to Edmonton, east to Lloydminster, contains the most fertile soil in the province and most of the population.
Much of the unforested part of Alberta is given over either to grain or to dairy farming, with mixed farming more common in the north and centre, while ranching and irrigated agriculture predominate in the south. The Alberta badlands are located in southeastern Alberta, where the Red Deer River crosses the flat prairie and farmland, features deep canyons and striking landforms. Dinosaur Provincial Park, near Brooks, showcases the badlands terrain, desert flora, remnants from Alberta's past when dinosaurs roamed the lush landscape. Alberta has a humid continental climate with cold winters; the province is open to cold arctic weather systems from the north, which produce cold conditions in winter. As the fronts between the air masses shift north and south across Alberta, the temperature can change rapidly. Arctic
Anzac is a hamlet in northern Alberta, Canada within the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. It is located on Highway 881 along the east shore of Gregoire Lake 36 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray. Anzac was named for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I, when the Alberta and Great Waterways Railway was being built from Carbondale to Waterways. Named after Willow Lake, the previous name of Gregoire Lake, the community were non-status or non-treaty Cree Indians whose forefathers had migrated to the Athabasca Basin area from what was to become northern Manitoba. During World War II a road was built from the rail siding to service and construct a US Army base on Stoney Mountain; the area has seen significant growth corresponding to that of the oil industry. The hamlet was ordered to be evacuated on May 5, 2016 due to the spread of the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire; as a designated place in the 2016 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Anzac recorded a population of 548 living in 197 of its 286 total private dwellings, a change of −6.3% from its 2011 population of 585.
With a land area of 8.56 km2, it had a population density of 64.0/km2 in 2016. The permanent population of Anzac in 2015 was 606, with a shadow population of 157, for a total of 763, according to a municipal census conducted by the RM of Wood Buffalo; as a designated place in the 2011 Census, Anzac had a population of 585 living in 202 of its 272 total dwellings, a -2.7% change from its 2006 population of 601. With a land area of 8.15 km2, it had a population density of 71.78/km2 in 2011. List of communities in Alberta List of designated places in Alberta List of hamlets in Alberta
Long Lake (oil sands)
The Long Lake oil sands upgrader project is an in situ oil extraction project 40 km southeast of Fort McMurray in the Athabasca oil sands region of Alberta. The upgrader side of the facility has been shut down indefinitely after the deaths of two workers caused by an explosion January 16, 2016 in the Hydrocracker Unit however the SAGD site is still operational; the project is operated by Nexen, a wholly owned subsidiary of China National Offshore Oil Corporation Limited. Long Lake is an integrated steam-assisted gravity drainage and upgrading operation that uses a proprietary OrCrude technology as well as hydrocracking and gasification to produce Premium Synthetic Crude oil. Production capacity at Long Lake is 72,000 barrels per day of bitumen which, when upgraded, generates 58,500 barrels per day of crude oil. In 2001, Nexen formed a joint venture with OPTI Canada Inc. to develop the Long Lake lease using SAGD for in-situ bitumen production and OrCrude technology to upgrade the bitumen to PSC.
The first phase of the project received regulatory approval in 2003 and was sanctioned in 2004. Construction at the site began in 2004. Steam injection began in 2007 and the first production was in 2008. SAGD bitumen operations at Long Lake started in mid-2008 and production of PSC from the upgrader began in 2009. Early in 2009, Nexen acquired an additional 15% interest in the Long Lake project, increasing the company’s ownership level to 65%. Following this acquisition, Nexen became responsible for operating the entire project. There have been some technical problems and the project has failed to meet production projections; as of early 2011, the site was producing about 30,000 barrels per day and OPTI was struggling under a heavy debt load and lack of liquidity. On February 1, 2011, OPTI appointed Lazard Freres & Co. a bankruptcy specialist, raising speculation that restructuring or bankruptcy for the company was imminent. In 2011, CNOOC Limited acquired OPTI, which included the 35% non-operated interest in the Long Lake project and joint venture lands.
On February 25, 2013, Nexen was acquired by CNOOC Limited. On June 11, 2015, Nexen spilled an estimated five million litres of bitumen and sand when a pipeline failed; the spill was not discovered until July 15, 2015. On January 16, 2016 An explosion occurred in the hydrocracker unit killing Drew Foster, 52 and injuring Dave Williams, 28 who succumbed to his injuries January 25, 2016; the plant has not restarted operations. The Long Lake upgrader uses SAGD to extract bitumen from the underground oil sands; the process involves using two separate horizontal wells into the reservoir. One well is used to inject steam; the stable bitumen drains into the second well, which extracts it to the surface. The Long Lake project uses OPTI's OrCrude process, which refines by-products of the extracted bitumen into usable fuel, used to generate steam; this process generates hydrogen, which fuels the refinement of extracted bitumen through hydrocracking. The Long Lake upgrader is linked with the Enbridge Athabaska Pipeline, a 17-kilometre-long, 12-inch diameter pipe from Long Lake to Cheecham terminal.
Enbridge’s 540-kilometre Athabasca from Cheecham to Hardisty, a major part of the network that serves Alberta's oil sands, "can carry up to 570,000 barrels per day of crude from the Athabasca and Cold Lake regions to Hardisty, Alta. A major pipeline hub in eastern Alberta, about 200 kilometres southeast of Edmonton." Enbridge Pipelines Inc. a subsidiary of Enbridge Inc. reported a pipeline leak site, about 70 kilometres southeast of Fort McMurray, near its Cheetham terminal on June 22, 2013 of 750 barrels of Light Synthetic Crude oil from CNOOC’s Long Lake upgrader SAGD project that spilled into a wetland area near Anzac. Unusually heavy rainfall in the region may have caused "ground movement on the right-of way that may have impacted the pipeline." Operations between Hardisty and Cheecham were restored on June 23 when Enbridge’s Athabasca pipeline was safely restarted. On July 15, 2015, the pipeline oil spill at the facility was discovered in the afternoon by a worker in which the factory's failsafe system was unable to detect.
As of July 16, 2015, at least 5,000,000 litres —or 31,500 barrels—of oil emulsion has been spilt onto an area of 16,000 square metres, The company said efforts were made to stabilise the leak, such as shutting down operations at the time of discovery and isolating the area. The company said the pipeline was installed in 2014 and contains an emulsion mixture of bitumen and oil sand. Determining the cause of the spill would take months, according to a company employee. Efforts were made to clean up the affected area, such as vacuum trucks, avoid further environmental impact, like affecting wildlife. On July 19, one duck was found dead from the spill; as of September 2015, the facility has resumed operations. 2009 in-situ progress report submitted to the ERCB