The teaser pulls you in with a titillating promise, “The thrill of drilling, the hazards and rewards as you bring in your own, Offshore Oil Strike.”
These are the words on the cover of an old board game of the 1970s which has some interesting similarities to the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf. In fact, it’s downright eerie.
The game is called BP Offshore Oil Strike – yes, as in British Petroleum – in which four players explore for oil, build platforms and construct pipelines to carry their black gold from the ocean depths. Reach $120 million, and you’re the winner.
On the way, however, you face a multitude of potential hazards that can erode your profits, including large-scale oil spills and subsequent cleanup costs of over $1 million.
Of course, this very same BP is today spending millions per day to clean up the Gulf spill, and costs are already into the billions.
The board game didn’t include unforeseen public relations disasters, like when BP CEO Tony Hayward took a few days off during the spill for a sailing trip. Nor did it address the huge scope of a mega-disaster caused by 62,000 barrels of oil gushing into the Gulf daily, washing onto beaches and swamps. Nor did the roll of the dice compel a player to bypass procedures which might gotten an oil spill contained a lot sooner.
No doubt, if the BP oil spill was a board game, BP would have finished last.