Oil companies unveil spill containment system

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 18, 2011 04:00

NEW YORK — A group of oil companies led by Exxon said Thursday it has built a system that can stop an undersea oil spill within weeks, a critical step towards resuming drilling in the deepest parts of the Gulf of Mexico.

The group said its combination of equipment and support vessels can contain a spill similar to BP's massive gusher, which took almost three months to plug. Some of the equipment was used by BP in containing its well blowout last year.

Regulators have demanded that oil companies demonstrate the capability to contain the blowout of an underwater well before granting permits to drill again in Gulf waters deeper than 500 feet (152 meters).

Exxon said this system meets that demand and should have no trouble gaining government approval. The group's engineers consulted with regulators during development, Exxon said.


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