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Report: $1 billion venture will fight Gulf spills

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Four of the world’s biggest oil companies involved, but not BP

msnbc.com staff and news service reports 21 July 2010

A new joint venture formed by four of the world’s biggest oil companies will develop a deepwater oil spill response and containment system for the Gulf of Mexico, according to reports in the financial press on Thursday.

Exxon, Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips are expected to announce Thursday that they will each contribute 25 percent to a $1 billion pool of money to fund a new deepwater spill response strike force, called the Marine Well Containment Company.

The venture would be able to mobilize within 24 hours to capture and contain oil spills in depths of up to 10,000 feet.

BP was not asked to join the venture, but may, along with other companies operating in the Gulf, be able to use the strike force.

“We don’t want to distract them at all,” Rex Tillerson, Exxon’s chief executive of Exxon told the Wall Street Journal.

The joint venture’s equipment will reportedly include a containment vessel capable of capturing up to 100,000 barrels of oil a day and other equipment to siphon any leaking oil up from the seafloor, the Financial Times reported.

The response team should be able to start mobilizing within 24 hours of an oil spill, and be fully in place within weeks, Sara Ortwein, vice president of engineering for Exxon Mobil Development Company, told the Wall Street Journal.

© 2010 msnbc.com

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