BP p.l.c. commonly known as British Petroleum, is a multinational oil and gas company with headquarters in London, England. It is one of the largest publicly traded companies in the world and has operations in more than 70 countries. BP is a vertically integrated company, meaning it is involved in every aspect of the oil and gas industry from exploration and production to refining and marketing. BP is also the largest producer of oil and gas in the United Kingdom and one of the largest producers in Europe.
BP has a long history in the industry, dating back to 1909 when it was founded as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. Since then, the company has been involved in a number of major projects including the building of the first trans-Alaska pipeline and the discovery of a major oilfield in the North Sea. In recent years, BP has been at the forefront of renewable energy initiatives such as solar and wind power.
BP is a major player in the global energy market and is also involved in a number of social and environmental initiatives. BP has invested heavily in renewable energy sources and has a commitment to reducing its environmental impact. The company has also made an effort to create a diverse and inclusive workplace and is committed to promoting the safety and well-being of its employees.
On 14 April 1909, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) was incorporated as a subsidiary of Burmah Oil Company. In 1911, after a court battle lasting almost three years, Standard Oil Company (New Jersey)—the parent company to Standard (Indiana) and other Standard companies—was ordered to relinquish supervision of its subsidiaries. For a time Anglo-Persian Oil risked being absorbed by one of the larger oil companies, such as the Royal Dutch/Shell Group, with whom it signed a ten-year marketing agreement in 1912. The refinery was built and began operating in 1912.
But in 1914 Greenway preserved the independence of Anglo-Persian Oil by a unique agreement with the British government. In 1914, the British government acquired a controlling interest (50.0025%) in the company, at the urging of Winston Churchill, the then First Lord of the Admiralty, and the British navy quickly switched from coal to oil for the majority of their warships. In 1915 Greenway founded a wholly owned oil tanker subsidiary, and within five years Anglo-Persian Oil had more than 30 oil tankers. In 1917, in his biggest coup, Greenway acquired British Petroleum Company, the British marketing subsidiary of the European Petroleum Union. New refineries were established in Scotland and France, and a research laboratory erected in Sunbury, Great Britain, in 1917 greatly expanded the company’s activities.
In 1919, the company became a shale-oil producer by establishing a subsidiary named Scottish Oils which merged the remaining Scottish oil-shale industries. To obtain a reliable source of crude oil, Stewart acquired 33 percent of Midwest Refining Company of Wyoming, in 1920. A half interest in the Sinclair Pipe Company was purchased in 1921, for $16.4 million in cash, improving transportation capacity. In 1923, Burmah employed Winston Churchill as a paid consultant to lobby the British government to allow APOC to have exclusive rights to Persian oil resources, which were subsequently granted by the Iranian monarchy.
Standard bought an interest in the Pan American Petroleum & Transport Company in 1925. In 1927, Burmah Oil and Royal Dutch Shell formed the joint marketing company Burmah-Shell. In 1928, he also joined forces with other leading oil companies in a clandestine price-fixing agreement among the world’s largest oil companies. The APOC's shareholding in TPC, which by now was named Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC), was reduced to 23.75%; as the result of the changing geopolitics post-Ottoman empire break-up, and the Red Line Agreement.
In 1929 Standard (Indiana) acquired another chunk of Pan American stock through a stock swap, bringing its total ownership of Pan American to 81 percent. Equally profitable as a supplier, the company’s net earnings were $78.5 million after taxes. Though expensive, these investments proved to be sound; The Depression notwithstanding, Standard Oil (Indiana) was second only to Standard Oil (New Jersey) as a buyer of crude oil. Stewart was followed as CEO by Edward G. Seubert, who continued to strengthen Standard’s crude oil supply. A retail venture called the Atlas Supply Company, which was co-organized with five other Standard firms, had been organized to sell automobile tires and other accessories nationwide.
With an eye to future supply security, Seubert shifted the emphasis to buying and developing crude oil-producing properties like McMan Oil and Gas Company, a 1930 purchase that provided 10,000 barrels daily. Even worse conditions threatened after the largest oil field in history was found in east Texas in late 1930. These subsidiaries now became the Stanolind Pipe Line Company and the Stanolind Crude Oil Purchasing Company; they were joined in 1931 by the Stanolind Oil & Gas Company, a newly organized subsidiary absorbing several smaller ones. Even worse conditions threatened after the largest oil field in history was found in east Texas in late 1930. As a result, only 49.9 billion barrels were produced in 1931, as against 55.1 billion the year before, and the company’s 13 domestic facilities operated well below capacity.
In 1932 Standard decided to sell Pan American’s foreign interests to Standard Oil (New Jersey). These properties cost Standard Oil (New Jersey) slightly less than $48 million cash plus about 1.8 million shares of Standard Oil (New Jersey) stock. Nevertheless, cheaper international exploration costs spurred Standard (Indiana) to again become active in the growing foreign oil arena that it had all but left when it sold Pan America’s foreign interests. • 1932: BP and Shell merged their U.K. market operations to form Shell-Mex. The dispute eventually went to the League of Nations, and in 1933 Persia signed a new 60-year concession agreement with Anglo-Persian Oil that reduced the area of the concession to about a quarter of the original and introduced a new tonnage basis of assessment for royalty payments.
Shell-Mex and BP acquire the Power Petroleum Company. In 1934, APOC and Gulf Oil founded the Kuwait Oil Company as an equally owned partnership. The company was renamed the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) in 1935 when new leadership in Tehran opted to shift the nation's name away from the archaic "Persia" operated what was then the world's largest refinery near the city of Abadan. Activities in Texas led the Stanolind Oil & Gas Company to the Hastings field, which held 43 producing wells by the end of 1935. Standard felt the bite in Iowa’s 1935 chain-store tax, which could not be justified by its service stations’ profit margin.
In 1937, AIOC and Shell formed the Shell/D'Arcy Exploration Partners partnership to explore oil in Nigeria. Iraq Petroleum Company, 23.75% owned by BP, signed an oil concession agreement with the Sultan of Muscat that covers the entire region of the Sultanate, which was in fact limited to the coastal area of present-day Oman. Other Iranian fields and refineries were built, and by 1938 had the largest single refinery in the world.
44 Anglo-Iranian tankers were sunk during World War II, resulting in the loss of 657 lives. He left behind him 33,244 employees, sales of crude oil topping the 1944 figure by 37.1 percent, and a gross income of $618.9 million. On January 1, 1945, Seubert retired as president and chief executive officer of the company. In 1947, British Petroleum Chemicals was incorporated as a joint venture of AIOC and The Distillers Company. In 1948 Stanolind Oil & Gas formed a foreign exploration department to head exploration attempts in Canada and other countries.
Manucher Farmanfarmaian, then director of Iran's Petroleum Institute, wrote grimly in 1949 of the misery of life there: "In winter the earth flooded and became a flat, perspiring lake. The new team spent more than $98 million by 1950, with Canada and the Gulf of Mexico as its prime targets. American Oil Pipe Line Company, a former subsidiary of American Oil, was merged into Service Pipe Line Company—which had been known as Stanolind Pipe Line Company until 1950—focused on oil transport. IOP operated and managed oil facilities in Iran on behalf of NIOC. Similar to the Saudi-Aramco "50/50" agreement of 1950, the consortium agreed to share profits on a 50–50 basis with Iran, "but not to open its books to Iranian auditors or to allow Iranians onto its board of directors."
On May 1, 1951, the Iranian oil industry was formally nationalized. By 1951, gross income had reached $1.54 billion. By 1952 Standard Oil (Indiana) was acknowledged as the nation’s largest domestic oil company. Later, in 1954, the Sultan of Muscat, backed by the British government and the financial aid he received from IPC, started occupying regions within the interior of Oman, which led to the outbreak of Jebel Akhdar War that lasted for more than 5 years. In 1954, the AIOC became the British Petroleum Company. Effective January 1, 1955, British Petroleum became a holding company. In 1955 Peake retired as president, to be succeeded by former Executive Vice-President Frank Prior, who inherited the problem of a decrease in allowable production days in the state of Texas, as a result of additions to oil reserves in the state.
In 1956, the company was renamed British Hydrocarbon Chemicals. In 1956, its subsidiary D'Arcy Exploration Co. (Africa) Ltd. has been granted four oil concessions in Libya. Total income for 1957 was about $2 billion. American Oil thus had the right to use the Standard name only in the 15 midwestern states that had been the company’s original territory. Thus, in 1957, the word “American,” together with the Standard Oil (Indiana) logo, was used in all other states.
Standard (Indiana) broke openly with this custom in a 1958 deal with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), in which Standard (Indiana) split the profits evenly, then gave NIOC half of its own share, to which it added a $25 million bonus. BP reaches an agreement with Sinclair Oil Corporation to form two companies: 1.) selling BP’s Middle East crude in the United States through Sinclair’s downstream facilities; 2.) engaging in exploration primarily in Latin America.
In 1960 company President John Swearingen succeeded Prior as chief executive officer, the chairmanship being left vacant. BP’s oil exploration in Libya begins to pay huge dividends. Since a five-letter name was easier for motorists to note, in 1961 the company began to replace the brand name American with Amoco, the name first coined by American Oil’s original owners for the high-octane, anti-knock gasoline that had powered the Charles Lindbergh trans-Atlantic flight. In 1961 Standard’s total income reached almost $2.1 billion, yielding net earnings of $153.9 million. About 250 service stations also were opened in Australia, along with a 25,000-barrel-per-day refinery.
In 1965 BP found gas in British waters of the North Sea. To keep pace with the demand for the raw materials used in polyester fibre and film, the company built a new facility in Decatur, Alabama, in 1965, adding another in Texas City, Texas, a year later. In 1965, it was the first company to strike oil in the North Sea.
The Atlantic Richfield Company was created in 1966 by the merger of Richfield Oil Corporation and Atlantic Refining Company. By the end of the year there were 5.5 million cardholders, encouraging American Oil to go national with its motor club. In 1967 Standard began production in the Persian Gulf Cyrus field, by which time the huge El Morgan field in the Gulf of Suez was producing 45,000 barrels daily. All of these advances ensured profitability; overall chemical sales rose to $158 million by the end of 1967, with total revenues of almost $3.6 billion. British Petroleum becomes the second largest chemicals company in the United Kingdom. Paula Harris, a Senior Mathematician in BP’s Computer Department, becomes the first female employee admitted to its Senior Luncheon Club. The giant oil tanker Torrey Canyon foundered off the English coast. In 1967, BP acquired the chemical and plastics assets of The Distillers Company which were merged with British Hydrocarbon Chemicals to form BP Chemicals.
The trend had begun in 1968 when polypropylene manufacturer Avisun Corporation was purchased by Amoco Chemicals Corporation from Sun Oil Company. The first BP sign appears at a service station in Atlanta, Ga on April 29, 1969 A further merger in 1969 brought in the refining and petrochemical capacities of Sinclair Oil Corporation. The solution was a 1969 agreement with the Standard Oil Company of Ohio (SOHIO), the market leader in Ohio and several neighbouring states. BP entered the United States by acquiring the East Coast refining and marketing assets of Sinclair Oil Corporation.
Beginning in 1970, BP merged its assets in the United States with those of the Standard Oil Company (Ohio), in which BP acquired a controlling interest. To capitalize on concern about air pollution, the company introduced 91-octane lead-free gasoline in 1970 at a cost in excess of $100 million. In an effort to diversify, BP developed an extensive coal business, principally in the United States, Australia, and South Africa. BP discovers the Forties field, the first major commercial oil discovery in British waters. Despite these turbulent events, net income was $1.5 billion in 1971, with total revenues of $20.197 billion.
Giddens, Paul Henry, Standard Oil Company (Indiana): Oil Pioneer of the Middle West, New York: Arno Press, 1976. In 1977, BP had already started pumping oil from fields by Prudhoe Bay in northern Alaska down a 1,200 km-long pipeline that ran all the way to refineries in the south of the state. In 1977, as part of an attempt to diversify out of a dependence on petroleum, Atlantic Richfield bought the Anaconda Company, a miner and processor of copper, aluminium, and uranium and a manufacturer of copper and aluminium products. BP’s chemical interests also expanded during this period, especially after 1978, when it acquired major European assets from Union Carbide and Monsanto. Environmental matters came to the fore again in 1978, when an Amoco International Oil Company tanker, the Amoco Cadiz, suffered steering failure during a storm and ran aground off the French coast, leaking about 730,000 gallons of oil into the sea.
BP's controversial legacy played no small part in the political rhetoric of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which ousted the Shah and paved the way for the Islamic Republic. In Iran, British Petroleum continued to operate until the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The British government sold 80 million shares of BP at $7.58 in 1979, as part of Thatcher-era privatisation. Fairhall, David, The Wreck of the Amoco Cadiz, New York: Stein and Day, 1980.
In 1981, British Petroleum entered into the solar technology sector by acquiring 50% of Lucas Energy Systems, a company which became Lucas BP Solar Systems, and later BP Solar. The name British Petroleum Company PLC was adopted in 1982. The downstream assets of BP Canada were sold to Petro Canada. In 1983 John Swearingen retired as chairman of the board.
In 1984, Standard Oil of California was renamed Chevron Corporation; and it bought Gulf Oil—the largest merger in history at that time. In 1985 Standard Oil Company (Indiana) changed its name to Amoco Corporation. To meet anti-trust regulations, Chevron divested many of Gulf's operating subsidiaries and sold some Gulf stations and a refinery in the eastern United States to British Petroleum and Cumberland Farms in 1985.
By 1986 a 100-colour line plus improved stain resistance made Amoco Fabrics & Fibers Company’s petrochemical-based Genesis carpeting a serious competitor of the stain-resistant carpeting offered by du Pont. In November 1987, the Kuwait Investment Office purchased a 10.06% interest in BP, becoming the largest institutional shareholder. Chelminski, Rudolph, Superwreck: Amoco, The Shipwreck That Had to Happen, New York: Morrow, 1987. In 1987, British Petroleum negotiated the acquisition of Britoil and the remaining publicly traded shares of Standard Oil of Ohio.
One result of the sale was that by March 1988 the Kuwait Investment Office had built up a 21.6 percent stake in the company; government regulatory authorities subsequently reported that this share was reduced to less than 10 percent. Other chances to expand oil and gas exploration in 1988 came with the acquisition of Tenneco Oil Company’s Rocky Mountain properties, for approximately $900 million. In 1990 BP announced Project 1990, a fundamental change in its corporate structure. By 1990, the need for raw materials had expanded internationally, moving strongly toward Europe and the Far East.
H. Laurence Fuller took over as chairman in 1991 amidst a downturn in Amoco profits owing to weakening demand for petroleum products and reduced prices caused by the recession. Horton’s personal abrasiveness and tendency to dictate, rather than cultivate, change earned him an unflattering nickname: “The Hatchet.” He was forced to resign on June 25, 1992, after BP sustained its first-ever quarterly losses. Reorganization efforts also focused on the troubled American subsidiary, BP Oil, which contributed more than $20 million to the parent company’s 1992 loss. Fuller began this effort with a 1992 restructuring intended to reduce costs and improve efficiency. In 1992, British Petroleum sold off its 57% stake in BP Canada (upstream operations), which was renamed Talisman Energy.
In 1994, Amoco made one of its largest natural gas finds off Trinidad and Tobago. In 1995, Sir John Browne, former chief of Exploration, took over as BP’s chief executive. Also tested were shared service stations that offered Amoco gas and fast food (from McDonald’s and Burger King), or such services as dry cleaning (DryClean United StatesA.). These tests were so successful that Amoco planned to roll out 100 such units in 1995 at a cost of $100 million. In 1995, the company sold its motor club business to a subsidiary of Montgomery Ward and its credit card operations to Associates First Capital Corporation, a Ford subsidiary. In 1997, BP announced that it would build its first service stations in Japan. It acquired a 10% stake in Russian oil company Sidanco, which later became a part of TNK-BP.
British Petroleum merged with Amoco (formerly Standard Oil of Indiana) in December 1998, becoming BP Amoco plc. In 2000, BP Amoco acquired Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) and Burmah Castrol. As part of the merger's brand awareness, the company helped the Tate Modern gallery of British Art launch RePresenting Britain 1500–2000. In 2001, the company signed a deal with the Spanish and Philippine governments to bring solar power to 150 Philippine villages—the largest solar energy project ever undertaken. • 2001: Madison Oil acquires BP’s ARCO Turkey Inc business for $3.4 billion In 2001, in response to negative press on British Petroleum's poor safety standards, the company adopted a green sunburst logo and rebranded itself as BP ("Beyond Petroleum") plc.
In 2002, BP acquired the majority of Veba Öl AG, a subsidiary of VEBA AG, and subsequently rebranded its existing stations in Germany to the Aral name. On 1 September 2003, BP and a group of Russian billionaires, known as AAR (Alfa–Access–Renova), announced the creation of a strategic partnership to jointly hold their oil assets in Russia and Ukraine. In the late 20th century BP was a major investor in green energy, and in 2003 the company unveiled the slogan “Beyond Petroleum.” However, within a decade BP had scaled back its renewable energy efforts. • 2003: BP sells a number of refineries, plants, and retail operations throughout the United States, Canada, Singapore, Central Europe and Germany.
On August, 2004 BP merged the automotive lubricant operations of Petrolub International Co Ltd and BP Japan, forming a new enterprise called BP Castrol KK, which held an estimated seven percent of the Japanese automotive lubricant market. In 2005 BP sells its Innovene chemicals business to the Ineos Group (in the U.K.) for approximately $9 billion.
In 2006, over 250,000 gallons of oil spilt through corroded sections of the BP pipeline in Alaska across the North Slope, leading to a partial shutdown of the company's Prudhoe Bay field and a costly cleanup. The company planned to have a solar business worth $1 billion by 2007. BP agrees to pay $373 million in restitution and fines to settle illegal propane trading allegations, including alleged environmental violations centring on the Alaskan pipeline leaks and Texas refinery explosion. Tony Hayward succeeds John Browne after a storm of controversy surrounding in 2007, BP sold its corporate-owned convenience stores, typically known as "BP Connect", to local franchisees and jobbers.
Falling profits resulted in 5,000 job losses at BP, 60 percent of which were corporate positions. In the same year, it was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange where its share was traded until delisting in 2008. On April 14, BP celebrates its 100th anniversary. In early 2009, the State of Alaska, the United States Justice Department, and the United States Department of Transportation all filed civil lawsuits against BP’s exploration business relating to the oil spill in Prudhoe Bay. BP ends the year with 80,300 employees and $239 million in sales and operating revenues. In 2009, BP obtained a production contract to develop the supergiant Rumaila field with joint venture partner CNPC.
In January 2010, Carl-Henric Svanberg became chairman of BP board of directors. June 15th, a government panel estimates that as much as 60,000 barrels a day could be gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, making it the largest offshore oil spill in United States history. Bloomberg Business Week estimates BP faces more than 225 lawsuits in 11 states; and additionally reports the combined cleanup, restoration and litigation costs of the spill could exceed $37 billion, according to a June 2 report by Credit Suisse In July 2010, BP sold its natural gas activities in Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, to Apache Corporation.
In February 2011, BP formed a partnership with Reliance Industries, taking a 30% stake in a new Indian joint venture for an initial payment of $7.2 billion. The company announced its departure from the solar energy market in December 2011 by closing its solar power business, BP Solar.
In June 2014, BP agreed to a deal worth around $20 billion to supply CNOOC with liquefied natural gas. In 2015, as part of a civil trial, it agreed to pay some $20 billion. In 2016, BP sold its Decatur, Alabama, plant to Indorama Ventures, of Thailand.
In April 2017, the company reached an agreement to sell its Forties pipeline system in the North Sea to Ineos for $250 million. In April 2017, its subsidiary Butamax bought an isobutanol production company Nesika Energy. Also in 2017, the company floated its subsidiary BP Midstream Partners LP, a pipeline operator in the United States, at the New York Stock Exchange.
In December 2018, BP sold its wind assets in Texas. Also in 2018, BP bought a 16.5% interest in the Clair field in the UK from ConocoPhillips, increasing its share to 45.1%. BP paid £1.3 billion and gave to ConocoPhillips its 39.2% non-operated stake in the Kuparuk River Oil Field and satellite oil fields in Alaska. In 2018, BP acquired Chargemaster, which operated the UK's largest electric vehicle charging network.
In January 2019, BP discovered 1 billion barrels (160×10^ m) oil at its Thunder Horse location in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2019, BP and Didi Chuxing formed a joint venture to build out electric vehicle charging infrastructure in China. The business was focused on aromatics and acetyls. It had interests in 14 plants in Asia, Europe and the United States, and achieved production of 9.7 million metric tons in 2019.
In September 2020, BP announced it will build out a rapid charging network in London for Uber. In September 2020, BP formed a partnership with Equinor to develop offshore wind and announced it will acquire a 50% non-operating stake in the Empire Wind off New York and Beacon Wind off Massachusetts offshore wind farms. On 14 December 2020, it sold its 49% stake in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System to Harvest Alaska. The deal is expected to be completed in the first half of 2021.
“We are committed to making a real difference in providing the energy the world needs today, and in the changing world of tomorrow.”
“‘Who we are’ defines what we stand for at bp. It builds on our best qualities and those things that are most important to us – our commitment to safety, to speaking up if something doesn’t seem right, compliance, care for others and working together as one integrated bp team – while putting an even greater focus on how we can take bp to the next level.”
“BP's vision is to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner, and to help the world get to net zero. This means reducing their emissions to net zero by balancing emissions with actions that remove carbon from the atmosphere.”
“To achieve those goals and drive value through the energy transition, we’ve defined a new strategy and reorganized the company. Now we are introducing ‘Who we are’ – which we believe will help us create an environment that encourages and supports everyone to perform at their best.”
Leigh-Ann Russell (EVP, innovation & engineering)
Helge Lund (Chairman)
Eric Nitcher (EVP, Legal)
Bernalrd Looney (Chief Executive Officer)
Murray Auchincloss (Chief Financial Officer)
Gordon Birrell (EVP, production and operations)
Guilia Chierchia (EVP, strategy, sustanability and ventures)
Emma Delaney (EVP, customers and products)
Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath (EVP, gas & low carbon energy)
William Lin (EVP, regions, corporates & solutions)
Kerry Dryburgh (EVP, people & culture)
Carol Howle (EVP, trading & shipping)
Recognition and Awards
Products and Services
Finding and developing hydrocarbon resources, with selective exploration mostly focused near our existing hubs. Operating oil and gas production assets, including bpx energy. Operating refineries, terminals and pipelines. Deploying technical capability across hydrocarbons and low-carbon businesses
- BP Gas/Petrol stations
- Fuel cards and credit cards
- Aral (Europe)
- ampm (United States)
- BPme Rewards.
- BPme app.
- bp pulse.
- bp Ultimate fuels.
- bp fleet solutions.
- E10 Petrol.
Charles Greenway (Founder)
William D'Arcy (Founder)
Helge Lund (Chairman)
Bernalrd Looney (Chief Executive Officer)
Energy and Utilities