Capping system ready for gulf oil spills

Feb. 18, 2011 at 7:09 AM
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HOUSTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- A rapid containment response system is ready to respond to future underwater incidents in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a company announced.

The Marine Well Containment Co. said it developed an interim system that can operate in 8,000 feet of water and process up to 60,000 barrels of liquid per day.

"This milestone fulfills a commitment set forth by the four sponsor companies to deliver a rapid containment response capability within the first six months of launching the marine well containment project," said Marty Massey, chief executive officer at the company.

The company was set up in the wake of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April to respond to any future accident. A failure at BP's Macondo oil well off the coast of Louisiana was spewing at least 50,000 barrels of oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico before it was capped in July.

The announcement comes as a presidential oil spill commission released a report on the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. The report found BP didn't keep close tabs on cementing procedures, which the commission said was the root cause of the deadly April accident.

Commission Chief Counsel Fred Barlit, in a statement, said "the sad fact" of the matter was that the oil spill was "entirely preventable."

The 357-page report echoes findings in January that highlighted a series of technical failures that led to the blowout that eventually sunk the oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

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