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BP: Company Overview, Share Price & Oil Spill

BP logo

BP is one of the world’s largest energy companies. Operating for almost 100 years in nearly 80 countries across the world, its main areas of business include finding and extracting gas and oil, refining and supplying petroleum products, and exploring renewable and low-carbon energy alternatives to fossil fuels.


Company profile

BP Plc is the sixth-largest oil and gas company in the world. Formerly known as The British Petroleum Company Plc, today it operates in 79 different countries across six continents, with its headquarters in London. The company can trace its roots all the way back to 1908 with the founding of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company.

  • Total revenue 2019: $282,616
  • Employees: 70,000
  • CEO: Bernard Looney

BP structure and shares

BP’s business operations are split into three divisions: Exploration & Production; Refining & Marketing; and Alternative and Low-carbon Energy.

  1. Exploration & Production - this division is known as BP’s upstream activities. It involves finding and developing access to new natural gas and oil resources, as well as producing, transporting, storing and processing the oil and natural gas it finds and extracts.
  2. Refining & Marketing - this division is known as the company’s downstream activities. It is responsible for BP’s fuel (petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and gas), industrial lubricants and petrochemical operations, which includes the refining, marketing and supply of petroleum products and crude oil.
  3. Alternative and Low-carbon Energy - BP works hard to market itself as a green company and was one of the first big energy companies to look at sustainable energy sources, including solar, wind and biofuels. BP Solar was the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels until it closed in 2011. In 2017, BP launched Lightsource BP, which develops large-scale international solar projects, such as maintaining and managing solar farms.

The closure of BP Solar saw BP wind down and stop its solar activities for six years. BP solar panels came with a warranty and despite the closure of the company, these solar warranties continue to be honoured. For more information on BP solar warranty and recycling support, you should contact the company that installed your BP solar panels. If you can’t contact your installer, contact BP on the relevant email address listed below:

  • Americas (North, Central, South): bpsolarwarranties.us@bp.com
  • Australia and Asia Pacific: ausproductsupport@bp.com
  • Northern Europe (Germany, UK, Benelux, and Austria): bpsolarwarranties.NE@bp.com
  • Rest of Europe, Middle East and Africa: bpsolarwarranties.SE@bp.com

BP share price

Up until the 1980s, the British Government was the majority owner of BP. It sold the last of its shares in 1987 and BP officially became a private company.

BP ordinary shares (made up of original shares and shares gained through mergers with Amoco and the Atlantic Richfield Company) are traded publicly in the UK on the London Stock Exchange and in Germany on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. In the US, BP shares are publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange as BP American Depositary Shares (ADSs). One American Depositary Share is equal to six BP ordinary shares.

BP’s share price was heavily affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010, which saw the value of shares drop by 50%. Since then, the BP share price has remained fairly steady and stockholders have witnessed very little profits.

BP in the media

Over the years, BP has hit headlines for a number of accidents and violations. Some of the largest include the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Texas City Refinery explosion.

  1. Texas City Refinery explosion (2005) - In March 23rd 2005, an explosion at the BP Refinery in Texas City killed 15 workers and injured a further 180. The explosion and subsequent fire caused extensive damage and the unit was out of operation for two years. Following the explosion, an investigation by CBS (US Chemical Safety Board) found many organisational and safety failings, for which BP was fined $21 million, followed by a further $50.6 in 2010 for failing to fix the safety violations mentioned in the report. BP also pleaded guilty for its failure to comply with federal environmental law and was charged a further $50 million fine.

  2. Deepwater Horizon oil spill (2010) - In April 2020, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that BP operated in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and sank, causing the biggest oil spill in history and one of the largest environmental disasters America has seen. Official estimates state the equivalent of 4.9 billion barrels of oil was leaked into the ocean, directly affecting 68,000 square miles of ocean and 125 miles of coastline. BP was forced to set up a $20 million response fund to settle claims, faced hundreds of lawsuits, pleaded guilty to several charges and paid a $4 billion fine.
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