British Petroleum vector logo
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About British Petroleum
BP plc is a British multinational oil and gas company headquartered in London, England, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest energy company by market capitalization, fifth-largest company in the world measured by 2012 revenues, and the sixth largest oil and gas company measured by 2012 production. It is one of the six oil and gas “supermajors”. BP is vertically integrated and operates in all areas of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading. It also has renewable energy activities in biofuels and wind power.
As of December 2012, BP had operations in over 80 countries, produced around 3.3 million barrels per day of oil equivalent, had total proved reserves of 17 billion barrels of oil equivalent, and had around 20,700 service stations. Its largest division is BP America, which is the second-largest producer of oil and gas in the United States. BP owns a 19.75% stake in the Russian oil major Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly traded oil and gas company by hydrocarbon reserves and production. BP has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index; it had a market capitalisation of £85.2 billion as of April 2013, the fourth-largest of any company listed on the exchange. It has secondary listings on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange.
BP’s origins date back to the founding of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1909, established as a subsidiary of Burmah Oil Company to exploit oil discoveries in Iran. In 1935, it became the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and in 1954 British Petroleum. In 1959, the company expanded beyond the Middle East to Alaska and in 1965 it was the first company to strike oil in the North Sea. British Petroleum acquired majority control of Standard Oil of Ohio in 1978. Formerly majority state-owned, the British government privatised the company in stages between 1979 and 1987. British Petroleum merged with Amoco in 1998 and acquired ARCO and Burmah Castrol in 2000. From 2003 to 2013 BP was a partner in the TNK-BP joint venture in Russia.
BP has been involved in several major environmental and safety incidents, including the 2005 Texas City Refinery explosion which caused the death of 15 workers and resulted in a record-setting OSHA fine, Britain’s largest oil spill, the wreck of Torrey Canyon, and the 2006 Prudhoe Bay oil spill, the largest oil spill on Alaska’s North Slope which resulted in a US$25 million civil penalty, the largest per-barrel penalty at that time for an oil spill. In 2010 the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the largest accidental release of oil into marine waters in the history of the petroleum industry, and resulted in severe environmental, health and economic consequences. The company pled guilty to 11 counts of felony manslaughter, two misdemeanors, and one felony count of lying to Congress and agreed to pay more than $4.5 billion in fines and penalties, the largest criminal resolution in US history. Further legal proceedings, which are not expected to conclude until 2014, are ongoing to determine payouts and fines under the Clean Water Act and the Natural Resources Damage Assessment. BP faces damages of up to $17.6 billion in the trial.