The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Oil Companies Plan New Containment System

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted July 22, 2010

Four major oil companies are joining forces to build and deploy a rapid-response containment system that will be available to capture and collect oil from future blowouts in the Gulf.

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The new system will be suitable for use in depths of up to 10,000 feet--twice as deep as the Macondo well--and will have the capacity to contain 100,000 barrels of oil per day with expansion potential.

The four companies, which include Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Shell, have committed $1 billion to pay for the initial cost of the new system. They also will assemble a dedicated staff to maintain readiness under a new non-profit organization called the Marine Well Containment Company. Other companies will be invited to participate.

"[R]egardless of how unlikely it is that this situation will reoccur," said Shell Oil Company President Marvin Odom, "additional safeguards must be strengthened across the industry to develop the capacity to quickly respond and resolve a deepwater well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico..."

"Today's announcement demonstrates our industry's leadership and commitment to safe operations," said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. "Engineering experts will design, develop and implement state-of-the-art containment systems that go beyond the lessons of the Deepwater Horizon incident to raise industry safety preparedness and capability."

Work on the new system is expected to commence swiftly to enhance deepwater safety and environmental protection in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf accounts for 30 percent of U.S. oil production and supports more than 170,000 jobs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.