Regulators to test spill-plugging equipment in Gulf
An oil spill consortium set up after the BP oil spill of 2010 to develop methods for containing deep-sea spills will do a drill with its state-of-the-art equipment this summer. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says in a news release the Marine Well Containment Co. will see how stacking caps could be dropped over an out-of-control well and safely used to plug a blowout. The consortium will be required to move a capping stack from its on-shore base to the seabed of the Gulf, the Interior Department says. The consortium was formed with the mission of stocking state-of-the-art spill-fighting equipment for the Gulf to be used in the event of another such disaster. Interior officials say a second consortium developing other containment equipment, the Helix Well Containment Group, will do a similar exercise at an unspecified date. Tougher drilling rules passed after the BP spill require oil companies to prove they can control a blowout similar to the April 20, 2010, incident at the Macondo well, where 11 workers were killed in explosions that sank the drilling rig Deepwater Horizon. Salazar says other measures put into place should prevent a blowout from occurring again, but that making sure the industry has effective capping stacks on hand should another blowout happen is important.
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