June 19, 2010 / 2:18 AM / in 7 years

BP deploys Costner's oil machine in Gulf cleanup

PORT FOURCHON, La., June 18 (Reuters) - Hollywood star Kevin Costner joined BP (BP.L) (BP.N)’s efforts to clean up the oil-fouled Gulf of Mexico on Friday as the British company began deploying his “dream” machine to separate oil from water.

BP acquired 32 of the centrifuges to help remove some of the oil that has been gushing into the Gulf from its blown-out well in the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

The units are being deployed after BP tested them to see if they could handle the crude leaking from an undersea well for two months at an estimated rate of up to 60,000 barrels a day (2.5 million gallons/9.5 million liters).

“At its core, my dream, this machine, was designed ... to give us a fighting chance to fight back the oil that’s got us by the throat,” Costner told reporters.

“When you are in a fight, anybody knows you go to confront it right where it is. You don’t wait for it to come to your door,” the actor said at this oil industry supply port in southern Louisiana.

Moored behind him was a barge with his machines mounted on the deck that had returned to port to be fitted with a global positioning system to allow it to detect concentrations of oil.

Costner’s company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, signed a contract with BP to provide 32 of the units that are expected to be working in the next 60 days, BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said. Financial details were not disclosed.

Each machine, called a V20, can separate 210,000 gallons of oily water a day.

Costner, best-known for such films as “Dances with Wolves” and “Waterworld,” stressed he was no overnight oil spill sensation. He has been trying to employ the technology designed by his company for the past 17 years, and has invested more than $20 million of his own money in its development.

Costner testified in the U.S. Congress last week about the need for a 21st century solution to the risks of drilling in waters as deep as one mile (1.6 km).

His proposals had been ignored and bureaucratic red tape hindered the introduction of new technology, he said. (Reporting by Jeff Jones; Editing by Anthony Boadle)

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