Oil Firms Announce Development of Spill Rapid-Response System

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.

Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC and ConocoPhillips said Wednesday that they are forming a joint venture to design, build and operate a rapid-response system to capture and contain up to 100,000 barrels of oil a day flowing 10,000 feet below the surface of the sea.

BP's Deepwater Horizon well had been leaking up to 60,000 barrels per day 5,000 feet below the surface.