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API raises bar on oil spill response

Industry sets standards for well capping system.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   July 30, 2014 at 8:47 AM

WASHINGTON, July 30 (UPI) -- The American Petroleum Institute said its new standard for equipment used in an emergency response to an oil spill resets the bar.

API Director of Standards David Miller said enhanced standards are a necessary part of the industry's efforts to coordinate with regulators on offshore oil and natural gas development.

"These guidelines will further strengthen subsea spill response capabilities as part of industry's commitment to continuous improvement in safety," he said in a statement Tuesday.

API, which represents the business interests of more than 500 oil and gas companies, outlined its recommended practices for the installation of so-called capping stacks, a mechanism developed in the wake of the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

An interim well containment system was made available to the industry in early 2011 by the Marine Well Containment Co., a non-profit collaboration between ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell.

A cascading series of failures led to the fire that sunk the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, leading to the worst offshore oil spill in history.

It took 87 days until a capping system was deployed to control the spill.

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