CNRL faces Alberta charges for poisonous release

Mon May 14, 2012 5:17pm EDT
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - The Alberta government said on Monday it has charged Canadian Natural Resources Ltd with releasing poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas from its Horizon oil sands plant two years ago and failing to report the incident.

The provincial environment ministry said Canadian Natural, the country's biggest independent oil explorer, faces three counts related to the incident at the northern Alberta operation, each carrying a maximum penalty of C$500,000 ($499,000).

Officials at Canadian Natural were not immediately available for comment.

The company's first court appearance is scheduled for July 11 in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

($1=$1.00 Canadian)

(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; Editing by Peter Galloway)