It looks like at D plus 2 months 1 or 2 of Kevin's machines have finally hit the waters of the gulf, the lack of urgency on the parts of the Obama Administration and BP borders on the unbelievable, interesting answer, american entrepreneurship.
Ocean Therapy Solutions Founding Partner Kevin Costner told lawmakers on capitol hill that now is the time to require safeguards, like OTS centrifuge machines, for a safe and clean oil industry. "I would ask this committee to consider the multi-dimensional role that this technology can play in safeguarding the water and putting people back to work," he told members of the Senate Small Business Committee. "When there is a spill anywhere, we suffer everywhere. Our machine represents a common ground. Common sense. And the absolute reality that we can and must protect those resources we share."
SMALL BUSINESS & ENTREPRENEURSHIP COMMITTEE UNITED STATES SENATE TESTIMONY
Kevin Costner Founder, CINC Co-Founder / Partner, Ocean Therapy Solutions, WestPac Resources.
- BP Gulf Oil Cleanup Solution VIDEO, UPDATE 06/09/10
- Kevin Costner House Energy and Environment Subcommittee
- Kevin Costner House Energy and Environment Subcommittee FULL VIDEO 3 hours, 14 minutes
We're here today because there are now some 60,000 barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf.
We're here today because a carefully crafted plan designed by the oil industry and rubber stamped by MMS, claimed it could handle spills of up to 250,000 barrels a day, but turned out not to be a plan at all.
We're all here.
And now the whole world is watching as America fumbles its way through the greatest environmental disaster in history. And I find myself here because 17 years ago I thought I could play a part in this recurring nightmare. I have come here with a technology that was developed for this very moment we find ourselves in, as a people, as a nation, as a neighbor to every country that shares the precious Gulf of Mexico.
I am a private entrepreneur, a dreamer if you will, who saw a problem and committed to a big idea. I took a technology from the Department of Energy in 1993. It was about six inches tall. It was developed to separate metals but what if? What if we extrapolated that idea, took this little machine and scaled it up to separate large volumes of oil from water?
I believed that we could manufacture and deploy a rugged and portable machine under harsh conditions. We would create five different sizes with the largest able to handle up to 200 gallons per minute with both oil and water outputs at 99.9 percent purity.
In 2 years the dream moved from research and development to a commercially viable product ready to be deployed anywhere in the world. This was done without the help of outside investors, or government grants. The price tag would be over $20 million dollars. And I would pay it.
The need was clear. Any industry that would operate year round, 24 hours a day, in or near any body of water, at the depths and complexities that our modern oil industries are working in is going to experience spills, on a daily basis, large or small, accidental or otherwise, reported or not.
I started a business without a guaranteed market. Did I expect the oil industry to open its arms when I presented an oil-water separator, a solution to their single greatest liability? Yes. Did I expect thoughtful leaders here and abroad to recognize the importance of protection where we profit? Yes. I did.
But I was wrong. The list of government agencies, foreign and domestic oil companies who saw our technology more than a decade ago reads like a who's-who of those who needed it, those who should have been looking for it, and probably more to the point, those who should have been developing it themselves.
So what was the problem? Was it too small? Too portable? Was there already something like it in the big plan? I don't know. My big idea has been sitting quietly for ten years in a modest Nevada facility.
Then two days ago I got a call from Doug Suttles, COO of Exploration and Production for BP. He was pleased. He was excited. He told me that the machine worked. He told me it was working against the dispersants. That it was handling the variations of oil mixtures and thickness present in the Gulf. He ordered 32 machines and told me that this represented the beginning of us working together not only for this spill, but going forward so that we have a legitimate response in the future.
Am I proud that this technology can be part of the solution for the Gulf? Yes to a certain extent. To be completely honest, I feel vindicated. I think I'm gonna call my Mom. But this is not a Hollywood ending for me. The path to arrive at this moment was steep and formidable. That's why I've been called to testify before this committee. To explain why 21st century technology has sat idly on a shelf for ten years, when it could have been deployed as a first and most efficient responder to mitigate the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.
The business of oil spill clean up is not pretty. It's not sexy. Safety never is. It's not a profit center. It's perfectly clear that oil companies have not invested in clean up technology to match their 21st century appetite and operations.
In the last two weeks, my company began an exciting collaboration with Edison Choest, the largest oil servicer in the Gulf. We are in the final stages of engineering emergency response ships that would be staged strategically throughout the Gulf with the ability to be on site within two hours of incident.
Together we are fashioning a more comprehensive plan that we would like to present before the lifting of the moratorium. It would fundamentally change the world's approach to oil spill recovery. But we haven't stopped there.
Ocean Therapy Solutions, continues to push the envelope of progress, once again footing the bill for R&D without help from industry or government.
I believe there are other small companies out there in the private sector just like us. How do we let them in? How do we create an environment that fosters and encourages investment in critical technologies? I leave that to this body. But you should know, that negotiating your way, as a small business, through the bureaucratic maze that presently exists is like playing a video game that no one can master. It's like trying to get to a next level that doesn't exist.
For me, advancing the technology for oil spill clean up was a dream, not a business. It wasn't about improving my margins. I wasn't even trying to stay in the black! We were trying to be about something more.
If we can find oil thousands of feet in the ground, at depths that boggle the mind, then surely we have the technology to clean up our own mess. To find through photo imaging, the giant black clouds of oil, hidden, ranging like death in the Gulf poised to land on our beaches or escape to the Atlantic. Without a doubt the oil industry has the resources to create ships to hunt these down and drain their killing capacity. They have the technology and intellect to take this head on. We can all be about something more.
I can see that these spills are our collective problem but they are not our collective responsibility. The economic burden falls squarely on the oil industry.
For them to get over the bar of safety, and pay the price is not too much to ask. It is not too much to have them put in place the safeguards, the redundancy, and muster the sheer will to throw an overwhelming response at the problem now and in the inevitable future. Anything less is dangerous, unacceptable and the American people deserve better.
We have a special moment in time. We have to get this right.
40,000 men and women in the oil industry are out of work through no fault of their own.
Fishermen have been sidelined.
Service industries are paralyzed.
Families that have survived on the plentiful resources of the Gulf do not now know the quality of life that awaits them.
I would ask this committee to consider the multi-dimensional role that this technology can play in safeguarding the water and putting people back to work.
The oil industry does not have time to evolve a plan. They have to act.
This is an absolute tool. It creates an efficiency where there are inefficiencies. It represents a legitimate response to accidents that are going to happen. And clears a path to lift the moratorium, if that's what the country wants.
We are in a fight to protect our jobs, our way of life and an ecosystem that cannot protect itself. We can put Americans back to work and bring an entire industry into the 21st Century of oil spill response.
It's important to remember that when there is a spill anywhere, we suffer everywhere. Our machine represents a common ground. Common sense. And the absolute reality that we can and must protect those resources we share.