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Explosion interrupts work at oilsands site, all workers safe

Last Updated Aug 29, 2015 at 1:22 pm PDT

(Courtesy: John Know Rock 97.9)

The blast happened between 5:30am and 6:00am Saturday morning

ALBERTA (NEWS 1130) –¬†An explosion at a Syncrude oilsands processing site near Fort McMurray has interrupted operations at the facility. Ryan Bartlett with the Alberta Energy Regulator says the blast happened early Saturday morning at Syncrude’s Mildred Lake site.

Bartlett says in an email that the company reports that all workers are safe, no product has been released and no offsite odours have been detected. Syncrude spokesman Will Gibson says a fire broke out at the Mildred Lake Base Plant’s upgrading complex and was extinguished by Syncrude firefighters.

Gibson says there’s no word on what caused the incident, nor is there an estimate on how much damage has been done. He says only Syncrude employees are being allowed onto the base plant site on Saturday, and the company is asking its contractors to be patient while it responds to the situation.

“Part of that response will be a thorough investigation and we will release further information when it’s available. The safety of the people at our site is our top priority,” Gibson said.

Bartlett said in his email that there have been no impacts to wildlife or water bodies. Gibson said air quality at the site is monitored carefully and that there haven’t been any concerns.

He said operations have been affected, but any information on whether there will be an impact to the facility’s output would come from Syncrude’s owners. “It’s too soon to tell how this is going to impact our production,” Gibson says. “Other parts of our operation are continuing. It’s a very big site up here.”