While testifying before the House Committee on Science and Technology this past Tuesday, Kevin Costner revealed that BP had placed orders for several of his oil filtration centrifuge machines. We now know that the company plans on purchasing 32 of the devices for use in the Gulf of Mexico.
In an interview with WWL First News, John Houghtaling, Costner’s chief partner in the project, said that each machine costs almost $500K to build. He estimated that within a matter of weeks, they could manufacture 10 per week — having the full order ready by the first of August. He also noted that the machines require hired vessels to take them out to sea — but it appears Costner has solved that issue too. Today, Edison Chouest Offshore announced that it had officially partnered with the actor’s Ocean Therapy Solutions company to deploy the machines using its “cream-and-orange vessels”.
In addition to BP, Costner is also working on leasing 16 of his machines directly to Plaquemines Parish, which has taken the brunt of the ecological damage. He says that if BP won’t pay for the additional devices, his company will work out a way to sell the oil it separates from the water as a way of funding the cleanup. (Dear BP: This is not a time to negotiate. Just pay for the f**king machines.)
Obviously, having his technology bought up and used must give Costner some bittersweet satisfaction. After all, this is a guy who took action some 20 years ago because of the Exxon Valdez disaster and sank $26m of his own cash into creating something that might help us avoid yet another horror. Sadly, it took something even greater for his hard work to pay off — but it stands to reason that because of this technology, and the companies all over the world that will invest in it, that next terrible spill might not be as terrible.
And at the end of it all, that’s just something to be proud of.