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Spill response test completed in U.S. gulf

July 31, 2012 at 6:15 AM

HOUSTON, July 31 (UPI) -- Engineers in the Gulf of Mexico were able to effectively control a simulated well failure during the testing of containment system, officials said.

The U.S. Department of Interior called on the non-profit Marine Well Containment Co. to deploy its 100-ton capping system to the Gulf of Mexico to respond to a simulated well failure similar to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident.

"Through this demonstration, we effectively validated our ability to safely and effectively respond to a well control incident in the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico," MWCC Chief Executive Officer Marty Massey said in a statement.

The capping system was lowered to 6,900 feet underwater to perform its well control procedure. John Hollowell, a vice president for Shell's upstream operations, said the containment system was "an important tool" for spill response.

MWCC, which includes Shell as a member company, was set up in the wake of the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Its capping system is designed to work in water depths of 10,000 feet.

The system is similar to the one used to kill the Macondo well on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico about five months after Deepwater Horizon platform sank.

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