CALGARY — Canada's Alberta province has brought eight charges against Nexen Energy, a unit of China's CNOOC Ltd, after two workers died in an explosion at its Long Lake oil sands plant in early 2016, an Alberta government spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Alberta laid the charges on Dec. 19 under the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act. Spokeswoman Nicole Appleton said each count carried a fine of up to $500,000 and/or up to two years in jail.

Appleton said the charges were against Nexen Energy and she was not immediately able to specify which individuals may face potential jail time.

The Jan. 15, 2016 explosion occurred in a hydrogen compressor building while two maintenance workers were inside. One man died at the scene and the other died in hospital several days later.

"Our deepest sympathies remain with the families and individuals involved. A detailed review of these charges is currently underway; however, as the matter is before the courts we are unable to comment further," Nexen spokeswoman Brittney Price said in an email.

The charges include failing to ensure the health and safety of the workers, and failing to ensure the compressor equipment was serviced in accordance with manufacturer's specifications.

Appleton said a first court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 14 in Fort McMurray provincial court.