Oil Giants Plan ‘rapid Response’ To Spills

By San Francisco Business Times

Chevron Corp. joined ConocoPhillips, Shell and ExxonMobil in putting up $1 billion for work on a ⿿rapid response system⿝ to stop an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

San Ramon-based Chevron (NYSE: CVX) and the others have been hard hit by commercial and political backlash over BP plcâ¿¿s big spill in the Gulf, where they have substantial investments and operations.

Some U.S. lawmakers have proposed near or total bans on offshore drilling in the region. About a third of the countryâ¿¿s oil and gas is produced in the Gulf and about 170,000 U.S. jobs are supported by the work there, Chevron said.

Chevron said the crisis system ⿿will be flexible, adaptable and able to begin mobilization within 24 hours⿝ of an oil spill.

The oil businesses have pledged $1 billion for the systemâ¿¿s startup costs and said they may have to spend more.

Special undersea equipment is planned for the system. The BP (NYSE: BP) spill presented tremendous technical challenges and was only capped this week. ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) will lead the technical work on special ships and equipment for the disaster system.

A nonprofit called Marine Well Containment Co. will be created to keep and run the disaster system. Chevron said other businesses will be invited to join the organization.

ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) is based in Houston. Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS-A) is based in The Hague. ExxonMobil Corp. is based in Irving, Texas, near Dallas.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals

http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2010/07/19/daily60.html?ana=thestreet

Copyright bizjournals.com 2010

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