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How Kevin Costner Earned The Attention Of BP

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Over the more than 40 days the oil spill disaster has been depressing our world, BP has received a mountain of suggestions on how best to clean up the mess. Of those, only a few have made it past the suggestion box, frustrating many who claim (and some who probably do) to have genuinely innovative solutions to offer.

Needless to say, it’s been a select group making it through. Even James MotherF–king Cameron expressed his anger at being shot down — probably the one time since Avatar hit the scene that the director hasn’t been ushered to the front of the line.

So you have to wonder how Kevin Costner, an actor most memorable for his movie bombs as much as his successes, managed to soar above the fray and actually attract support from BP for his oil filtration device. According to a little investigating by Business Weekly, it had less to do with his celebrity (though the name dropping probably helped a bit) and more with his business acumen, foresight, and industry connections.

First off, Costner’s involvement in oil filtration technology is not something he’s casually dabbled in. Ever since he bought the design for his centrifuge system from the Department of Energy some 15 years ago, he’s been working to perfect it. At the time, the DOE’s device just wasn’t working and Costner, inspired to create something that could help avoid the mess caused by the Exxon-Valdez, offered to take it to the next level. Together with his brother Dan, Costner started CINC (Costner Industries Nevada Corp) to develop the technology; spending some $26 million of his own money in the process to make it a reality. They later launched Ocean Therapy Solutions to front the tech.

Over the course of the last decade, the actor presented his technology at oil industry-related conferences; most notably the Offshore Technology Conference somewhere around 2000. It was at that presentation that a number of BP employees witnessed Costner’s centrifuge demo; leading to the “oh yea, I remember that…” moment last month when the company was angling for ideas.

But first they needed a bit of reminding, which is where Costner scored big in Billy Nunngesser, president of Plaquemines Parish, a governmental district in coastal Louisiana. John Houghtaling, CEO of Ocean Therapy Solutions contacted Nunngesser, who remembered the presentation, and then sent a letter on Costner’s behalf to Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer for exploration and production. The rest is history — and now Costner and his team are preparing to deploy his large centrifuges in deep water with the help of BP — and hopefully, to the benefit of the ecosystem.

The only hitch is that Costner’s tech has not been certified by United States Coast Guard regulations, as its purity levels for the discharge of water are apparently high above legal requirements. Time will tell if the rules are bent in an effort to clean up the water sooner than later.

via Business Weekly

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