BP plc said Monday it would join ExxonMobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell plc to develop a rapid-response system to capture and contain oil and natural gas in the event of a deepwater well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM).

Following the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, the original Big Oil sponsors last July launched the Marine Well Containment Co. LLC (MWCC), which, when operational, would be able to mobilize and respond within 24 hours in deepwater depths up to 10,000 feet (see Daily GPI, July 23). BP, which before the Deepwater Horizon tragedy was the biggest producer in the U.S. GOM, remains one of the largest offshore leaseholders.

"Last autumn we made an ongoing commitment to share what we've learned and the experience we gained during the Deepwater Horizon incident response with the world," said BP's James Dupree, regional president for U.S. GOM business. "We have shared our insights with regulators, participated in public forums, worked directly with industry bodies and published our lessons learned. Joining the MWCC and bringing our capabilities and equipment to an interim response system is another important part of that commitment."

Among the equipment BP would bring to the MWCC are riser, manifold and containment systems that were developed and used when it responded to the Macondo well blowout. In addition to transferring equipment, BP would provide company information and supporting records, drawings, permits, licenses and other technical information it developed during the spill response.

The BP items are to be part of the MWCC interim response system, which is being helmed by ExxonMobil. MWCC-participating companies jointly are developing, engineering and constructing equipment and vessel.

BP said it also is "actively involved in significant industry efforts to improve prevention, well intervention and spill response." Included is work on rig inspections and implementing new requirements on blowout preventer certification and well design. The industry has "proactively formed several multi-disciplinary task forces to further develop improved prevention, containment and recovery plans," it said.

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