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Emergency oil well cap ready for action

An oil spill such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico last year should no longer have similar implications should it occur in British waters after a new oil well spill cap was unveiled.

The new emergency oil spill cap, which weighs 40 tonnes, was developed by OSPRAG, BP and Wood Group Kenny. It was built by Cameron Ltd in Leeds.

The cap works by sitting over any leak from an oil well and collecting the leaking oil. The cap minimises damage to the environment and gives oil well workers time to find a permanent way to stop the leak.

More than 200 tonnes of oil leaked from a Shell platform just last month, so the caps introduction will be warmly welcomed by the oil working fraternity.

The chair of OSPRAG, James House stated:

"Despite the fact that there has not been a major loss of well control in the UK in over 20 years of offshore operations, we believe that having such a contingency device here in the UK is essential as it allows a quick response no matter how unlikely a scenario this is.

Our long-term focus remains, however, to prevent such incidents from occurring in the first place and the cap complements other work being carried out by OSPRAG in spill prevention."

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