In my conversation with BP last month about ideas submitted from the public, the topic of the X Prize came up. There were rumors that the same folks who put together the 100 mpg X Prize challenge and the competition that begat SpaceShipOne were thinking of a similar effort for the Gulf disaster.
The BP spokesperson just sort of shrugged when I mentioned the idea. He pointed out that the goal of the X Prize competitions has been to stimulate ideas. In the case of the Gulf disaster, "we aren't lacking for ideas," he pointed out. There is certainly some validity to that statement.
Nevertheless, it now turns out that the X Prize Foundation is going ahead with the Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE, which is "designed to inspire entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists worldwide to develop innovative, rapidly deployable, and highly efficient methods of capturing crude oil from the ocean surface."
You can read the press release at the link below. What is interesting is that the release mentions at least 10 attendees at the announcement event, drawn from a variety of organizations. But there is no mention of anyone being there from BP.