WASHINGTON—According to a study published Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Energy, marine life has surpassed the world’s major industrial powers as the largest global importer of oil. “The number of barrels of crude oil that sea creatures import has been increasing sharply for decades, and in the past few years, ocean ecosystems have overtaken China, the European Union, and the United States to become the number-one destination for OPEC exports,” said the study’s lead author, Gabriel Vogt, noting that global oil companies have been steadily increasing the number of tankers and offshore platforms that deliver oil directly to fish, seals, marine birds, corals, turtles, and various other ocean creatures. “And given current oil drilling and shipping technologies and industry regulations, imports by marine organisms show no sign of abating. At this point, sea life has simply grown accustomed to cheap and abundant oil—it’s just an everyday part of their lives.” Vogt added that oil appeared to be incredibly popular among ocean life based on the thousands of marine species that consume petroleum products each year.