BP plc – Company Information

Company BP plc
Headquarters 1 St James’s Square, London, SW1Y 4PD, England
CEO  Bob Dudley
CFO Brian Gilvary
Industry Oil
Founder William Knox D’Arcy
Founded 1909 (as Anglo-Persian Oil Company, Ltd.)
Type Public Limited Company
NYSE stock symbol LSE: BP, NYSE: BP, FWB: BPE
Revenue $358.568 billion (2014)
Net income $4,003 million (2014)
Earnings per share $20.42 USD (2014)
Employees 84,000 (2014)
Website http://www.bp.com
Investor relations contact number: +44 (0) 20 7496 4570

BP plc is a leading multinational oil and gas company based in London, England. The company is often referred to by its former name British Petroleum”. 

BP is one of the six “supermajor” oil companies, along with Chevron Corporation, Royal Dutch Shell plc , ExxonMobil, and Total SA. It operates in nearly all aspects of the oil and gas industry and has activities in biofuels and wind power.

In 1901 the mining magnate William Knox D’Arcy was granted a concession from the Shah of Iran to explore for oil in Persia (now Iran). It took several years before D’Arcy and his group of geologists came across a substantial amount of oil in the area – the first major oil find in the Middle East.

In 1909 the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) emerged and within a few years (in 1913) the British Government became the majority shareholder of the company.

The reason why the government bought shares in APOC was primarily because Winston Churchill, who was at that time the chief of the British navy, said that it made more sense for the navy to use oil as the primary source of fuel, given its abundance and utility.

The company thrived and changed its name to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) in 1935 – as a result of Rezā Shāh’s request for the international community to refer to Persia as ‘Iran’.

However, after WWII the Iranian government nationalized the country’s oil industry and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) was created. This significantly affected AIOC, to such an extent that the British government made an appeal at the International Court of Justice, which was dismissed.

The UK and the US partnered up in a plan (under the code-name ‘Operation Ajax’ ) to overthrow the Iranian nationalist leader. The operation was a success and the pro-Western general Fazlollah Zahedi became the new Iranian leader – allowing the AIOC to return to Iran.

The AIOC became the British Petroleum Company in 1954.

In 1979, under the leadership of Margaret Thatcher, the British Government decided to sell  80 million shares of BP – which reduced the government’s ownership of the company down to 46%.

The oil giant now produces over 3.3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day and has operations in over 80 countries.

BP is active in every aspect of the oil and gas industry. The company has two primary business areas: its Upstream division and its Downstream division.

Upstream – the Upstream division of BP includes the following activities: natural gas exploration, field development and production, and midstream transportation, storage and processing.

Downstream – the Downstream division of BP is the company’s product and service-led arm. It focuses on refinery processing, developing fuel products (such as gasoline and diesel), developing lubricants and high-performance fluids for transportation, developing high-value petrochemicals intermediates fuels (end products include solvents/resins, plastics, and paints), and creating petrochemicals.

BP claims that its areas of distinctive strength are:

  • Exploration – exploring for hydrocarbons.
  • Deep water – a strong record of exploring and producing hydrocarbons in deep water.
  • Giant fields – BP has fields with resources that exceed 500 million boe.
  • Gas value chains –  discovering fields and providing products to end consumers.

Operating data (in $ millions) 2014* 2013*
Sales and other operating revenues $353,568 $379,136
Earnings from joint ventures – after interest and tax $550 $447
Earnings from associates – after interest and tax $2,802 $2,742
Interest and other income $843 $777
Gains on sale of businesses and fixed assets $895 $13,115
Total revenues and other income $358,678 $396,217
Purchases $(281,907) $(298,351)
Production and manufacturing expenses $(27,375) $(27,527)
Production and similar taxes $(2,958) $(7,047)
Depreciation, depletion and amortization $(15,163) $(13,510)
Impairment and losses on sale of businesses and fixed assets $(8,965) $(1,961)
Exploration expense $(3,632) $(3,441)
Distribution and administration expenses $(12,696) $(13,070)
Profit before interest and taxation $6,412 $31,769
Profit for the year $4,003 $23,758
Balance sheet data (in $ millions)
Total assets $284,305 $305,690
Total liabilities $171,663 $175,283
Total equity $112,642 $130,407
Cash flow data (in $ millions)
Net cash provided by operating activities $32,754 $21,100
Net cash used in investing activities $(19,574) $(7,855)
Net cash used in financing activities $(5,266) $(10,400)
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period $29,763 $22,520
Cash and cash equivalents at end of period $29,763 $22,520
Common share data (in $)
Basic earnings (loss) per common share 20.55 cents 123.87 cents
Diluted earnings (loss) per common share 20.42 cents 123.12 cents

*Year Ended December 31 

Source: “BP plc Annual Report and Form 20-F 2014”