Exxon-led group says oil well containment system is ready

“The interim system can operate in water depths up to 8,000 feet and has storage and processing capacity for up to 60,000 barrels per day of liquids. The capping stack has a maximum operating pressure of 15,000 pounds per square inch. The equipment is located on the U.S. Gulf Coast,” the MWCC said in announcing the new system.

The MWCC is a nonprofit group launched after the BP spill that also includes Chevron, Shell and ConocoPhillips, and it’s making the system available to companies operating in the Gulf.

A spokeswoman for Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement said the agency appreciates the MWCC’s “significant progress to address this issue, and we continue to encourage them to make their containment system available as quickly as possible to deepwater operators so that new, responsible oil and gas drilling in deepwater can proceed.”

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement engineers are reviewing the infrastructure and if all goes well, oil-and-gas companies will be able to cite it as a viable system in their permit applications.

The agency plans to evaluate the interim system's depth and barrel-per-day limits as it considers deepwater permit applications.

The MWCC is making additions to the system and plans to make an expanded system available in 2012.