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British oil company BP has asked the U.S. Department of Defense for specialized technology to help it contain a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The company is requesting subsea imaging technology and remote operating equipment to help prevent a spill from hitting the U.S. coastline near Mississippi and Louisiana, BP spokeswoman Sheila Williams confirmed Monday. She declined to provide any specific information on what the technology does. The equipment cannot be acquired commercially.
The U.S. Coast Guard also has been involved in the containment efforts, as well as a number of other government agencies and oil companies who are consulting with BP around the clock, BP COO Doug Suttles said in a press conference Monday. He said so far there have been no reports of oil hitting the shore.
“We are working with the Department of Defense … and have invited in and asked for [help from] others across the industry,” Suttles said.
He added that he did not know the status of his company’s use of DoD undersea imaging technology project, but that BP is currently using satellite images to give the company the extent of the damage on the surface of the water.
BP has been trying to contain an oil spill that occurred when the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20 and sunk, killing 11 people and leaking oil for thousands of miles.
BP has been using a number of techniques to try to contain the spill, including controlled burning of the oil and using submersible technology to send oil dispersants into the water to try to dissolve the oil before it rises to the surface.
It also tried to activate a massive valve called a blowout preventer to cut the oil off at the source of the leak, but so far has been unsuccessful. The company is continuing to work on the technology as one of its main efforts to stop the spill from spreading, Suttles said Monday.
The Department of Defense declined to comment on its involvement in the Deepwater Horizon clean-up.