Blue Marlin Goes Postal on BP Pipeline, Shuts Down Oil Production
Beware the fury of a sharp-snouted fish—especially if you’re a petroleum corporation responsible for one of the worst ecological fiascos in history.
A marlin attacked a BP-owned pipeline off the Angolan coast in February, the International Energy Agency reports. The billfish punctured a hose connecting the Greater Plutino facility to an oil tanker, prompting BP to declare force majeure (a legal move to deflect liability because of unforeseeable greater force) for five days.
Considering Plutino’s typical yield, Forbes estimates that the disruption prevented some 900,000 barrels of oil from going to market, which equates to a $100 million loss. The project will resume operations after four weeks of maintenance in March.
It’s not the first time that this type of incident–cum–political statement has happened: A swordfish stabbed another Angolan oil pipe in 2010, causing a three-day shipment delay. Similar piscine attacks impeding oil production have been reported over the years. Schools of fish have been known to convene around offshore oil platforms, in turn drawing predators such as sharks and marlins that can damage facility equipment.
Unwitting or not, embattled ocean dwellers can’t do it alone. After the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, BP recently regained rights to U.S. government contracts courtesy of a new agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency. The disaster killed 11 crew members and left more than 8,000 creatures injured or dead in the six months after the incident. Many marine species still suffer from the oil spill’s long-term effects four years later.