Oil Giants (Minus BP) Create Spill Response System
Exxon, Chevron, others learn from BP's mistakes
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2010 4:46 PM CDT
Vessels gather at the Deepwater Horizon oil spill site over the Gulf of Mexico, off the Louisiana coast, Tuesday, July 20, 2010.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(Newser) – Four oil giants are teaming up to create an early-response system to contain disasters like the Deepwater Horizon spill. Exxon, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, and ConocoPhillips are committing an initial $1 billion to create the nonprofit Marine Well Containment Co., though maintaining the "strike force" will cost more over time. The system is expected to be ready in 18 months, the Wall Street Journal reports, and the companies presumably hope to get back in the good graces of the White House. (BP was not invited to join "because we didn't want to distract them," explains an Exxon official.)

Readers who've been following BP's response to the Deepwater Horizon spill will find the containment system familiar: It is modeled after some of the measures developed by trial-and-error over the course of the disaster. In the event of a spill, a team of on-call responders would install a sealing cap fitted with flexible pipes. The oil would flow through those pipes to two ships modified to process mass quantities of oil, which they would offload to supporting shuttle tankers.