Kevin Costner saves the world (and BP)

If you build it, they will come, a voice told our Kev in Field of Dreams, and he obviously took it to heart. He constructs a load of oil clean up machines and, lo and behold, the Gulf spill happens and BP orders 32 of the things. Shows there is a god after all.

And we mustn’t forget, it’s kind of nice for BP too. If you’re being held responsible for one of the worst environmental disasters since the dinosaurs left the gas on, it helps to have a hero on side.

Costner has been working on the oil separators for 15 years, through a company called Ocean Therapy Solutions, inspired apparently by the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill.

The V20s are essentially giant centrifuges, which spin off the oil to be removed by barges – hurricanes allowing, obviously. In tests, they’ve  been shown to leave water up to 99 percent clear of crude oil.

Costner is on quite a crusade to shift the things. Last week, he told the US House of Representatives that it was their moral duty to make oil companies buy his products. “We’ve legislated life preservers. We legislated fire extinguishers. We legislated lifeboats and first aid kits,” he pointed out.

“It seems logical that as long as the oil industry profits from the sea, they have the legal obligation to protect it, except when they find themselves fighting for life and limb.”

Of course, they’ll have sod all effect.

Each machine can handle 200 gallons a minute, which sounds like a lot until you remember that there’s actually quite a lot of water in the Atlantic, and it doesn’t move politely out of the way when you’ve cleaned it to make way for the next batch.

But one day, when it’s possible to get back inside a US movie theatre without skidding and falling over, someone’ll make a very profitable movie out of all this. The question is, of course, when they do, will Costner get the part?