A Nexen site services coordinator discusses safety with Aboriginal contractors at the Long Lake oil sands facility.
Working with our Aboriginal Neighbours in Canada
Long-term engagement with Aboriginal communities is an essential component of Nexen’s commitment to responsible energy development. Relationship-building begins by engaging early and frequently to identify and understand the interests and views of Aboriginal people regarding the potential impacts of development and establishing mitigation strategies to minimize these impacts.
Through our commitment to long-term engagement and working together to build capacity, Nexen aims to create greater certainty for the Aboriginal communities affected by our operations, as well as our business activities. Working collaboratively, we seek to identify and develop opportunities for Aboriginal people to participate in the industry, as well as build the knowledge and skills necessary to engage more fully in the local economy. Collaboration enhances Nexen’s ability to:
- Establish mutually- beneficial and sustainable relationships with Aboriginal communities;
- Recruit and retain a diverse workforce, suppliers and contractors in a competitive market;
- Contribute to building sustainable Aboriginal communities;
- Achieve mutually satisfactory outcomes.
- Secure access to land and permits;
- Minimize risks and costs to asset development and/or operations associated with regulatory, permitting and licensing, consultation and accommodation requirements and/or obligations; and
- Earn Nexen’s ‘social licence’ to operate.
A component of building greater certainty is enhanced awareness about the industry, and shared understanding between Nexen and Aboriginal communities. Nexen recognizes that we have much to learn and gain from the diverse cultures of the Aboriginal people of Canada. Nexen provides cross cultural training and support to our employees to help them understand and work more effectively with Aboriginal people in the communities where we operate.
Working Together to Address Challenges
Traffic in the Oil Sands Region
Near our Long Lake oil sands facility, traffic, policing and capacity building are ongoing challenges for Nexen and the community.
Highway safety and increased traffic in the Anzac area are a concern for local stakeholders and Aboriginal community members. To help mitigate this issue, Nexen helped establish the Willow Lake Traffic Working Group (WLTWG) group in 2004. The group provides a forum for discussing traffic and safety issues, as well as an opportunity to work together on making improvements to driver and community safety in the Cheecham Village and Anzac areas. The WLTWG consists of 10 industry members, three traffic enforcement agencies, Alberta Transportation, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Fort McMurray First Nation and the Anzac Community Association. One achievement has been to limit travel on Highway 881 by oversized loads to occur between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m to minimize inconvenience to the local residents.
Aboriginal Business: Capacity Building
Utilizing local businesses supports high-quality, cost effective and sustainable supply for our operations. Nexen aims to ensure indigenous communities participate in the economic benefits from our operations. This approach enables First Nation and Métis companies to benefit economically from our development while we gain the procurement and contracting services we need to run our business.
For both our oil sands and Horn River Basin shale gas operations, one of our goals is to hire local contractors and support local businesses. We’re working with the Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association, Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce and the Fort McMurray Construction Association in an effort to help Aboriginal contractors identify employment opportunities.
In the Horn River Basin of northeastern British Columbia, our involvement in the Horn River Basin Producers Group has provided one means for working collaboratively with other industry members and communities on issues such as capacity building. Nexen’s shale gas group has also adopted a one-on-one approach to engage with Aboriginal contractors to discuss challenges they face and how Nexen might work with them to address some of these challenges.
As part of our effort to find ways to build capacity and support communities affected by our activities, Nexen is active in the Sustainable Communities initiative led by the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative. As a means to strengthen our work and to learn from the experience of Aboriginal companies across Canada and other industry sectors, we are active members of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and Circle for the Friends of Aboriginal Relations. These forums also provide us with an opportunity to share good practices.