UK Govt Reveals Device to Cap Underwater Oil Blowout

LONDON (Dow Jones Newswires), Sep. 6, 2011

The U.K. government will later Tuesday reveal a device designed to cap an underwater oil well in the event of a major incident so as to minimize environmental damage, the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group said.

The device was designed in response to BP PLC's (BP) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. The cap works by shutting in and holding pressure on an uncontrolled well and uses a choke and a series of valves to stop the flow of oil into the water.

The device can be deployed in water as deep as 10,000 feet and was designed specifically for use in wells in the U.K. continental shelf.

"The successful completion and availability of this cap marks a significant step forward in industry preparedness and significantly bolsters our capability to deal with a major loss of well control," said James House, chair of the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group.

The device allows a quick response and is essential for minimizing potential pollution in the water, even though the U.K hasn't had a major loss of well control in 20 years of offshore operations, House said.

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