If the war with Iran proceeds as many are predicting, prices of oil will explode, probably doubling or tripling.
If you could, with good odds, stop selling a product for, say six month, knowing that your profits would more than double (doubling the price could triple or quadruple the profits) you just might want to hold on to that inventory.But you'd have to have an excuse, since shutting down sales would look suspicious.
How about an outbreak of disease-- Ebola virus? Smallpox? White poweder on the snow? Naahhh. They used that in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
How about a problems with the pipeline-- sudden problems that are a big surprise?
I guess they think that line will sell.
They'll shut down the pipeline for maybe six month, until the Iran war is under way, throw some new pipes in, and then start selling oil at $150, $200, even $250 a barrel.
For all we know, OPEC might even be subsidizing BP's move. I know. Call me paranoid. The idea that megagazillionaire oil companies would collude to raise prices of oil... How silly.
Of course, the word is that there will be NO shortages. Just price increases.