The blast happened early Saturday morning, said a spokesman from the Alberta Energy Regulator, who told The Globe and Mail that “all workers, are safe, no product has been released and no offsite odours have been detected.” The explosion caused a fire at the plant’s upgrade complex and was put out by Syncrude firefighters, according to a company spokesman.
The extent of the damage is not currently known. According to the Syncrude spokesman a “process incident” led to the fire and that the company knows where the blaze started. There have not been any impacts on wildlife or waterbodies, Alberta Energy Regulator’s Ryan Bartlett told the Globe.
The Mildred Lake site extracts bitumen from oil sands and turns it into crude oil through a closed-loop cycle with the Aurora mine located about 40 kilometres north of the site. According to Syncrude: “Hot water, reclaimed from waste heat produced at the Mildred Lake upgrader, is sent via pipeline to the Aurora mine where it is used to extract the bitumen from the oil sand. The cooler water is then returned, along with the bitumen, to the upgrader at Mildred Lake. Here, the bitumen in processed into crude oil and the water reheated and again returned to the Aurora.”