Big oil on PR mission

2010-07-22 08:16

Four of the world’s oil giants said yesterday they were joining

forces to create a billion-dollar system to capture oil in case of another

catastrophic spill like the one in the Gulf of Mexico.

Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell

announced they would each contribute $250 million (R1.9 billion) to create a

non-profit group, the Marine Well Containment Company, to contain oil. BP was

not included in the plans.

The new venture would design, build and operate a flexible system

that, in case of a deepsea oil gusher, could mobilise within 24 hours to siphon

and contain 100 000 barrels of oil per day in depths of up to 3 000m, the

companies said.

Its main goal would be to prevent a spill as large as the one

unleashed by BP’s busted Macondo well that sits 1 500meters below the surface

and was estimated to have spewed up to 60 000 barrels of oil a day until it was

capped last week.

Chevron chairperson and chief executive John Watson said: “This new

system significantly enhances the industry’s ability to effectively respond to

any unforeseen incidents.”

The companies said the system, which closely matches the one BP has

in place after its leased Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20 unleashing

the worst oil spill in US history, would be ready to deal with well blowouts

within 18 months.

One of BP’s most vocal critics, Democratic Congressman Ed Markey,

said the proposal did not go far enough.

Markey, who chairs the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee,

said: “While this could be a rapidly-deployed system, the oil companies must do

better than BP’s current apparatus with a fresh coat of paint. The oil companies

must also invest more in technologies that will prevent fatal blowouts in the

first place.”

The announcement came as big oil attempts to gain favour with the

White House and convince the US government to end a moratorium on deepsea oil

drilling, which was imposed in the wake of the BP disaster.

The venture was also a response to the intense criticism laid

against the oil industry in the wake of the spill, with lawmakers charging that

firms were not adequately prepared to mitigate a potentially devastating spill.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.