Nexen Inc. is an energy company based in Calgary, Alberta.
Nexen started in 1971 under the name "Canadian Occidental Petroleum Ltd.", aka CanOxy, and was 80% owned by Occidental Petroleum, a Los Angeles-based oil company. Essentially, it was created to get around rules that hampered American oil companies' operations in Canada.
In the first decade of its existence, CanOxy was fairly Canadian-oriented. During the '80s and '90s they increased their international holdings, first in the Gulf of Mexico, then into places like Yemen. Further Canadian assets were also acquired.
In the 1990s, Nexen, then known as CanOxy, purchased the assets of what once was the first state owned oil and gas company in North America; Wascana Oil and Gas, once known as SaskOil. Founded by Saskatchewan New Democratic Party Premier Allan Blakeney, Saskoil was later privatized by Progressive Conservative Premier Grant Devine.
In 2001 the name was changed to Nexen Incorporated in recognition of the fact that Occidental no longer held a significant portion of the company.
Nexen has interests in Yemen
, Canada (including the Athabasca Oil Sands
through their 7% ownership of Syncrude
and their Long Lake project with OPTI Canada), the North Sea
, the Gulf of Mexico
, the Buzzard oilfield
(offshore UK) and offshore West Africa
The Buzzard Oil Field was originally developed by EnCana and the project was bought by Nexen.
Nexen also has operations in northern British Columbia (Canada)
The Long Lake Project in the Athabasca Oil Sands, a joint venture of Nexen Inc. and OPTI Canada Inc., was initiated in 2001. It was started in order to develop the Long Lake site using Steam assisted gravity drainage
and the exclusive OrCrude Process
for on-site upgrading. Nexen and OPTI share equally in all project production and operating costs. The estimated synthetic crude oil production for the Long Lake project is estimated at 60,000 bbls/d before royalties with a expansion in the works. External estimates place the approximate reserves at the Long Lake site at .
At one point Nexen also produced chemicals under the Canexus division, but in 2005 Canexus became an independent company, publicly traded on the TSX. Canexus produces sodium chlorate and chlor-alkali products in five plants in Canada and one in Brazil. The sodium chlorate is used as a bleaching agent primarily in the North American pulp and paper industry. The chlor-alkali products include caustic soda, chlorine and muriatic acid. The caustic soda is also used for pulp and paper while the chlorine is used for water purification, polyvinyl chloride and petrochemical industries.
The company also has a power division that buys and sells power. This division of the company is only a few years old. Nexen itself has several power generating facilities in Canada.