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BP p.l.c. (LSE: BP, NYSE: BP) is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas “supermajors“. It is vertically-integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading. It also has major renewable energy activities, including in biofuels, hydrogen, solar and wind power.
BP has operations in over 80 countries, produces around 3.8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day and has 22,400 service stations worldwide. Its largest division is BP America, which is the biggest producer of oil and gas in the United States and is headquartered in Houston, Texas. As at 31 December 2009 it had total proven commercial reserves of 18.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent. The name “BP” derives from the initials of one of the company’s former legal names, British Petroleum.
BP’s track record of corporate social responsibility has been mixed. The company has been involved in a number of major environmental and safety incidents and received criticism for its political influence. However in 1997 it was the first major oil company to publicly acknowledge the need to take steps against climate change, and in that year established a company-wide target to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases. BP currently invests over $1 billion per year in the development of renewable energy sources, and has committed to spend $8 billion on renewables in the 2005 to 2015 period.
British Petroleum merged with Amoco (formerly Standard Oil of Indiana) in December 1998, becoming BP Amoco plc. In 2000, BP Amoco acquired Arco (Atlantic Richfield Co.) and Burmah Castrol plc. As part of the merger’s brand awareness, helped the Tate Modern British Art launch RePresenting Britain 1500-2000 In 2001 the company formally renamed itself as BP plc and adopted the tagline “Beyond Petroleum,” which remains in use today. It states that BP was never meant to be an abbreviation of its tagline. Most Amoco stations in the United States were converted to BP’s brand and corporate identity. In many states BP continued to sell Amoco branded petrol even in service stations with the BP identity as Amoco was rated the best petroleum brand by consumers for 16 consecutive years and also enjoyed one of the three highest brand loyalty reputations for petrol in the US, comparable only to Chevron and Shell. In May 2008, when the Amoco name was mostly phased out in favour of “BP Gasoline with Invigorate”, promoting BP’s new additive, the highest grade of BP petrol available in the United States was still called Amoco Ultimate.
In April 2004, BP decided to move most of its petrochemical businesses into a separate entity called Innovene within the BP Group. BP sought to sell the new company possibly via an initial public offering (IPO) in the US, and filed IPO plans for Innovene with the New York Stock Exchange on 12 September 2005. On 7 October 2005 BP announced that it had agreed to sell Innovene to INEOS, a privately held UK chemical company for $9 billion, thereby scrapping its plans for the IPO.
In 2006, when Chevron Corporation gave exclusive rights to the Texaco brand name in the U.S. Texaco sold most of the BP gas stations in the southeast. BP has recently looked to grow its oil exploration activities in frontier areas such as the former Soviet Union for its future reserves. In Russia, BP owns 50% of TNK-BP with the other half owned by three Russian billionaires. TNK-BP accounts for a fifth of BP’s global reserves, a quarter of BP’s production, and nearly a tenth of its global profits.
On 12 January 2007, it was announced that Lord Browne would retire as chief executive at the end of July 2007. The new Chief Executive, Tony Hayward, had been head of exploration and production. It had been expected that Lord Browne would retire in February 2008 when he reached the age of 60, the standard retirement age at BP. Browne resigned abruptly from BP on 1 May 2007, following the lifting of a legal injunction preventing Associated Newspapers from publishing details about his private life. Hayward succeeded Browne with immediate effect.
On 15 January 2011, Rosneft and BP announced a deal to jointly develop East-Prinovozemelsky field on the Russian arctic shelf. As part of the deal Rosneft will receive 5% of BP’s shares (worth approximately $7.8 billion, as of January 2011) and BP will get approximately 9.5% of Rosneft’s shares in exchange. According to the deal, the two companies will also create an Arctic technology centre in Russia to develop technologies and engineering practices for safe arctic hydrocarbons extraction.