World's 4 Biggest Companies To Commit $1 Billion To Deal With Deepwater Oil Spills

Four of the world’s biggest oil companies said on Wednesday that they were committing $1 billion to create a rapid-response system to deal with deepwater oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, seeking to restore public confidence in the industry after the BP disaster painfully exposed how unprepared the industry was for a major accident, New York Times reports.

Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips and Shell said the system of underwater capture devices and surface containment vessels, similar to what BP is using now to control its Macondo well spill, will be designed to capture up to 100,000 barrels of oil a day before it spills into the sea from wells sitting in water as deep as 10,000 feet.

Unlike BP's system, much of which was designed and built on the fly to handle the unfolding Gulf disaster, the new equipment will be pre-engineered, constructed, tested and on standby for immediate deployment in case of an emergency. As part of the initiative, the four firms will form a nonprofit company called the Marine Well Containment Co. to operate and maintain the system, according to The Houston Chronicle.

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