Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Big Oil plans 'rapid response system' for Gulf

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Four leading energy companies announced a plan Wednesday to create a "rapid response system" to deal with any future oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.

ExxonMobil (XOM, Fortune 500), Chevron (CVX, Fortune 500), ConocoPhillips (COP, Fortune 500) and Shell (RDS.A) have committed $1 billion to fund the initial cost. However, the companies did not say when the system would be ready.

The system, which is still being developed, will be designed to use "capture vessels" to contain and store oil in the event of an underwater well blowout. It will be able to operate at depths up to 10,000 feet, and have initial capacity to contain 100,000 barrels per day.

In the event of a spill, the system can be mobilized within 24 hours.

The system will be operated and maintained by a non-profit organization called the Marine Well Containment Company. The oil companies said engineering, procurement and construction of containment equipment and vessels for the system will begin immediately.

"As an industry, we must rebuild trust with the American people in order to demonstrate that we can produce energy in a safe and environmentally responsible manner," Marvin Odum, president of Shell, said in a prepared statement.

BP (BP) is considering a plan that could permanently seal the ruptured well as soon as this weekend. But the tactic, called a "static kill," requires the approval of the federal government and cannot proceed until BP gets a crucial casing in place, a company official said.  To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 18,308.15 164.70 0.91%
Nasdaq 5,312.00 42.85 0.81%
S&P 500 2,168.27 17.14 0.80%
Treasuries 1.61 0.05 3.28%
Data as of 5:29pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Procter & Gamble Co 89.75 1.52 1.72%
Bank of America Corp... 15.65 0.49 3.23%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 6.27 0.15 2.45%
Wells Fargo & Co 44.28 -0.09 -0.20%
Cognizant Technology... 47.71 -7.29 -13.25%
Data as of Sep 30
Sponsors

Sections

On September 8, Americans learned that Wells Fargo had fired 5,300 employees for secretly creating as many as 2 million unauthorized accounts. It's been a hellish month for the bank. Lawmakers have called Wells Fargo a "criminal enterprise" guilty of a range of crimes, including conspiracy to commit fraud and have called on the CEO to resign. More

China is no longer offering Venezuela new loans, according to experts. It spells bad news for Venezuela, which relied heavily on Chinese finance. More

These startups are helping landlords and cities sniff out illegal short-term rentals. More

U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez writes about why the Labor Department introduced a new rule requiring federal contractors to provide paid sick leave to workers. More