New Orleans, La. – The director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has said permits will be issued only after the oil industry can demonstrate it can plug an underwater leak. The industry-funded Marine Well Containment Company says it now has that capability.
Exxon spokesman Clay Vaughn says there is now a capping-stack system that can funnel 60-thousand barrels a day to the surface.
Vaughn says some of the equipment now on stand-by was created to corral oil spewing from BP's Macondo well last year.
"The interim containment-response system components are stored in several locations along the Texas and Louisiana coast. Some of the equipment that is part of the interim containment system, came into the Marine Well Containment Company by virtue of BP's membership. And those components to a large extent are in the locations where they had been stored following the Macondo event."
The government estimates that BP's busted well may have been pumping 62-thousand barrels a day. Vaughn says the containment company is working on a bigger system that could handle 100-thousand barrels a day in water twice as deep as BP's well.
For WWNO, I'm Eileen Fleming.