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BP plc

legal form public limited company
ISIN GB0007980591
founding 1909
Seat London , UK
United KingdomUnited Kingdom 
Number of employees 70,100 (2019)
sales 282 620 000 000 USD (2019)
Branch [Mineral oil], [gas station] n
Website www.bp.com
As of December 31, 2019

The BP plc , formerly British Petroleum , is an international, British petroleum company headquartered in London . In 2012, BP had worldwide sales of 396 billion US dollars and employed 83,900 people. The company has proven reserves of 17.0 billion barrels of oil equivalent worldwide . The company owns around 20,700 filling stations and serves 13 million customers every day. Due to an oil spill - triggered on April 20, 2010 by the BP-operated Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico - the US EPA fined the company a record fine of 20.8 billion US dollars in 2015 . A 2019 study found that BP was the world's sixth-highest emissions company during this period, emitting 34.02 billion tons of CO 2 equivalent since 1965.

With a turnover of 251.9 billion US dollars and a profit of 4.3 billion US dollars, BP ranks 36th among the world's largest companies according to Forbes Global 2000 (as of 2017). BP had a market capitalization of approximately $ 152.6 billion in early 2018.

Chairman of the supervisory board and corporate management

Bob Dudley, CEO since 2010

From 1990 to 1992 Robert B. Horton was simultaneously Chairman of the Board of Management (CEO) and Chairman of the Supervisory Board (Chairman) of BP. The previously non-executive BP director John Baring served as chairman between 1992 and 1995. On July 1, 1995, David Simon took over the chair. His successor in June 1997 was Peter D. Sutherland , who was replaced by Carl-Henric Svanberg in January 2010 .

The CEO Robert B. Horton (1939–2011) was followed from 1992 to 1995 by David Simon , who was replaced by John Browne . Browne resigned on May 1, 2007 after losing a trial against the press that disclosed information about his personal life. His departure was originally planned for July 2007. By resigning, Browne had to forego a £ 3.5 million bonus. His successor Tony Hayward has been appointed as the new CEO with immediate effect. After the oil disaster caused by Deepwater Horizon in April 2010, the former head of the British-Russian oil company TNK-BP took over in October 2010 and Bob Dudley, who fled Moscow in 2008, took over the chairmanship. The Chairman of the Board of Directors has been Helge Lund since January 2019 .

Company name BP and basic logo change in 2002

Historic BP logo
BP logo from 2002

BP is one of the shortest and most valuable brands in the world.

The company logo alone is valued at USD 211 million. The two letters obviously refer to the company name "British Petroleum". With slight changes, most recently by Raymond Loewy , BP has carried the mark since the 1920s. In 2002, Landor Associates' green heraldic shield with yellow capital letters was replaced by a stylized yellow sun with a green corona - reminiscent of a sunflower - and the lower case letters "bp" are now placed outside at 1 o'clock. According to the company, it should be a Helios logo and symbolize future energy in its various forms. The company also tried to relabel “British Petroleum” for new mottos. In an accompanying press release, the group announced the changes that had taken place that they wanted to keep the name BP because of its recognition all over the world, also because the letters "bp" will in future stand for the following efforts of the "new company": "better people" ( better people), "better products" (better products), "big picture", "beyond petroleum" (beyond petroleum). BP initially used this new logo at its own BP petrol stations in Germany, which, however , were completely replaced by the Aral logo in 2002 after the BP takeover of Veba-Oel AG - and thus also its petrol station subsidiary Aral .



The history of the British Petroleum Company begins in Germany. In 1904 the Deutsche Petroleum-Aktiengesellschaft (DPAG) was founded in Berlin , which in 1906 became part of the European Petroleum Union (EPU). In 1906 they founded a subsidiary called the British Petroleum Company for the distribution of their products in Great Britain . This made the abbreviation BP the brand name for marketing the company's oil products.

After the German-owned British Petroleum Company was seized by the British government at the outbreak of World War I, this company was transferred to the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1917 . The Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) was founded in 1909 after drilling in Iran on the basis of a production license acquired by William Knox D'Arcy encountered oil. In 1912, at the instigation of Winston Churchill, the British government acquired a majority in APOC for two million pounds in order to secure the company financially. A long-term supply contract for supplying the British fleet was also concluded with APOC.

Structure of the large corporations in the oil industry

In 1935 the Anglo-Persian Oil Company was renamed Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) after the conclusion of a new concession agreement with Iran. The British state remained the majority owner of the AIOC. After the AIOC's facilities in Iran had been nationalized by a resolution of the Iranian parliament in March 1953, the CIA organized the overthrow of Mossadeq and the return of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi . Thereafter, the British-owned company shares located outside of Iran were renamed the British Petroleum Company together with the shares returned by the new Iranian rulers .

Largest companies in the world by turnover (2012)

In 1998 BP conquered the US market, merged with the American Oil Company (Amoco), initially to form BP Amoco , but then changed its name to BP .

2000: After further mergers, including with the lubricant specialist Burmah Castrol , the company, which had since become one of the world's leading energy companies, changed its external image to "bp". The company chose the Helios logo as the new brand logo.

In March 2010, BP bought Devon Energy oil fields in Brazil, Mexico and Azerbaijan for $ 7 billion . This gave BP a place in a region where the last major oil discoveries were made in the past ten years, such as the Tupi oil field with an expected capacity of five to eight billion barrels of oil.

In October 2010, BP sold all or part of the business in numerous African countries to Geneva-based Puma Energy , a joint venture between Trafigura and Sonangol Holdings.

In the 2015 financial year, the BP Group recorded the largest annual loss in its company's history of USD 6.5 billion (six billion euros) due to a global oil oversupply and price decline.

Merger to form BP Europa SE from 2010

On April 30, 2010, the individual national companies in Germany (Deutsche BP AG), Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland merged to form BP Europa SE ( European stock corporation ). The merger will take place retrospectively as of January 1, 2010. In May 2011, BP (Switzerland) was also integrated into BP Europa SE. The headquarters of the new SE is Hamburg with 270 employees (as of summer 2013) in the Überseequartier of HafenCity . The head office with around 1,000 employees (as of 2014) is located in Bochum at the original Aral headquarters, from where the petrol station and refinery business for Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland and Switzerland is also controlled.

Wolfgang Langhoff has been the CEO of BP Europa SE since January 2017 , replacing Michael Schmidt.


BP product trademarks (until 1922)
OLEX trademark with BP and shield-shaped border, mid-1930s
BP product trademarks (1946–1958)

The later Deutsche BP AG has its roots in two companies that were both founded in 1904: the Aktiengesellschaft für Österreichische and Hungarian Mineralölprodukte ( OLEX ) was founded in Vienna on July 1, 1904 , in Berlin the Deutsche Petroleum-Aktiengesellschaft (DPAG ) their business.

In 1906 DPAG merged with various other companies to form the European Petroleum Union (EPU). The EPU set up a sales company in Great Britain called the British Petroleum Company .

In 1926 the historical roots in Berlin grew together into one company. OLEX and EPU became OLEX Deutsche Petroleum-Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH .

BP in Germany after 1945

After the Second World War, OLEX was restructured. The company headquarters moved from Berlin to Hamburg . In 1950, after further mergers, the oil company was renamed BP Petrol and Petroleum-Gesellschaft mbH . In order to be able to use the company colors yellow-green in Germany (for the yellow-green BP logo), the parent company Anglo-Iranian Oil Company agreed with Wintershall as the parent company of NITAG to abandon the previous NITAG colors green-yellow . The subsequent re-signaling of the NITAG filling stations and all vehicles to the new company colors yellow-blue (the previous colors of Olex / BP) was paid for by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. In 1957 the GmbH was converted into BP Petrol and Petroleum Aktiengesellschaft .

BP in Germany from the 1970s to the 1990s

In 1974, in order to take into account the position of the German BP within the globally active BP group, the company was renamed Deutsche BP Aktiengesellschaft . The name is still valid today.

Initially, Albert Hallmann (1971–1975) was their general director and chairman of the board for Germany, whose post was held by Hellmuth Buddenberg from 1976 to 1988 . In 1978, Deutsche BP signed a cooperation agreement with Veba Oel AG , which was approved in 1979 by the then Federal Minister of Economics, Otto Graf Lambsdorff . As a result, BP acquired a 25 percent stake in Ruhrgas AG and took over the fuel trading company Stinnes- Stromeyer. With the voting rights of Gelsenberg AG, BP sought to obtain a controlling influence on the highly profitable natural gas business of Ruhrgas. Ultimately, the BP project failed because the other Ruhrgas shareholders in the vote pool were not prepared to sell their voting rights to BP. At the same time, BP had committed to supplying Veba with three million tons of crude oil annually by the year 2000. In 2002, Deutsche BP AG took over Veba-Oel AG and with it the Veba subsidiary Aral , which also includes Gasolin AG (now Gasolin GmbH ), which was merged with Aral in 1971 . From 2002 to 2004 Wilhelm Bonse-Geuking was head of BP in Germany and then Uwe Franke until 2010.

BP in Germany from 2010

In May 2010, Franke was replaced by Michael Schmidt as CEO of Deutsche BP, which was later merged with BP Europa SE at the Hamburg headquarters . - In Germany, BP Europa (before January 1, 2010 in Germany : Deutsche BP AG) is the leader in the lubricants market with its domestic filling station network consisting of around 2,500 filling stations (as of end of 2015), under the Aral brands (filling stations, Lubricants) and Castrol (lubricants), but also supplies free petrol stations. In 2011, BP Europa SE in Germany posted annual sales of more than 53 billion euros (almost 40 billion euros excluding energy tax). Around 5,000 people work for BP in Germany. BP owns the second largest refinery system in Germany. Germany is also one of three global BP research locations. 90 employees conduct research in Bochum, for example on the development of new fuels. A development center for industrial lubricants is located in Mönchengladbach. Around 145 people are employed there. Gear and axle oils are developed in Hamburg for customers all over the world. At the turn of the year 2016/2017, Wolfgang Langhoff moved to the top of the Board of Management of BP Europa SE.

Russia and participation in Rosneft

In 2011, BP and the Russian state-owned company Rosneft signed an agreement to jointly develop the oil and gas reserves on the Russian continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean . With the sale of the oil joint venture TNK-BP to Rosneft, BP has held 19.75% of the share capital in the Russian oil and gas company Rosneft since 2011. With the withdrawal from TNK-BP, direct funding by BP in the Arctic has been ruled out in the future. In June 2015, Rosneft sold 20% of the Srednebotubinskoye Siberian deposit , which produces 20,000 barrels (1 barrel = approx. 159 liters) per day, to BP. The two companies also signed agreements to jointly explore two deposits in Western Siberia and to double Rosneft's stake in four jointly operated refineries in Germany (Ruhr Oel GmbH, Bayernoil , MiRO and PCK Schwedt ).

The 50:50 joint venture with Rosneft at BP Gelsenkirchen was dissolved in 2015.


On January 16, 2013, Malian Islamic militants kidnapped nine foreigners in an oil field in In Aménas . The attackers had attacked the Tiguentourine gas plant of the energy company, which was operated jointly with Statoil and the Algerian energy company Sonatrach .

Other BP business areas

natural gas

BP is also active in the exploration and production of natural gas worldwide . In addition to its own natural gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, the company operates others in the Continental United States .

Air BP

The production and worldwide trade of aviation fuels is operated under the name Air BP .

BP Chemicals

In the United States, BP operates three petrochemical plants with approximately 1,000 workers and produces a range of materials that may include: a. can be used in clothing and plastic beverage bottles or plastic bags. The company also has petrochemical production facilities in Germany, for example. B. at BP Gelsenkirchen .

On June 29, 2020, BP sold its petrochemicals business to Ineos for $ 5 billion .

The logo of the now decommissioned BP Solar

BP Solar

BP Solar was a solar cell manufacturer and photovoltaic system builder that completely ceased its activities at the end of 2011. This step was justified by the fact that the solar industry recently developed into a mass market with low margins. BP has been in solar energy for over 35 years and is a market leader.

BP Wind Energy

According to its own information, BP Wind Energy operates 16 wind energy farms in the USA with a production volume of 2,600 megawatts .

Business figures

Business and employee development (the fiscal year ends on June 30th)
year Sales
in billions of US $
Balance sheet profit
in billion US $
Price per share
in US $
2005 245.486 22.024 28.86
2006 274,316 22,313 31.85
2007 291,438 20,843 32.85
2008 367.053 21.155 29.83
2009 246.138 16,578 26.28
2010 308,928 −3.721 25.63
2011 386,216 25.210 25.25
2012 388,074 11.015 25.71
2013 396.217 23,451 27.53 83,900
2014 358.678 3,778 31.79 84,500
2015 225.982 −6.484 27.38 79,800
2016 186.606 0.114 25.49 74,500
2017 244,582 3.388 31.59 74,000
2018 303.738 9,382 40.56 73,000


The mineral oil company operates its business worldwide under the four major brands BP, Aral , Castrol and ARCO , plus the historic Gasolin brand .


Aral - BP's filling station brand in Germany - is the market leader with a nationwide market share of 22.5 percent (at almost 2,500 filling stations in 2011).


The acquisition of Castrol made BP the world's leading lubricant manufacturer. Castrol is number one on the market in Germany. The brand has been known for decades for its intensive involvement in motorsport, for example in Formula 1 .


For trademark protection reasons, two petrol stations will continue to operate under the registered trademark Gasolin. These are located in Pasewalk and Ueckermünde .

Criticism and environmental disasters

Prudhoe Bay

BP is the operator of Alaska's largest oil field , the Prudhoe Bay oil field, with a 26 percent stake . On March 2, 2006, a major oil leak was discovered in western Prudhoe Bay. Up to 267,000 gallons (one million liters) of oil leaked, making it the largest northern Alaska oil leak in history. In August 2006, further oil leaks were noticed. On August 6, 2006, BP decided to discontinue production in the Prudhoe Bay field in Alaska indefinitely. Serious corrosion damage was found in the first examinations of the lines with special equipment . The inspection of the tubes was ordered by the authorities. BP emphasized that the tubes had been checked regularly and with regulatory approval and supervision. The test methods used, rinsing the tubes with a chemical agent for corrosion protection and ultrasound examinations , were not sufficient in retrospect. However, as early as 1999, BP employees had drawn the Group's management's attention to deficiencies. In 2001 the environmental authorities were already aware of the problems. However, they were not published, presumably as a result of the influence of Group employees.

In order to be able to examine the entire pipeline network more closely, BP decided to stop production. On August 11th, the company announced that after evaluating new test results, production could continue in the western part of the oil field. This decision was made in consultation with the state authorities. After approval by the US Department of Transportation, BP began production again in the eastern part of the oil field at the end of September. On October 29, 2006, BP announced that daily production had returned to the August 6, 2006 level of more than 400,000 barrels.

BP Texas City Refinery

Leakage of hydrocarbons through the retention tank

BP Texas City is the largest oil refinery of the company in the south-east of Houston nearby Texas City and produced on an area of 4.85 square kilometers, about 2.5 percent of the US fuel needs.

The first parts of the complex, which is considered to be extremely complex, were built in 1934, and since then it has been expanded and modernized several times. The refinery came into possession of BP through its merger with Amoco on December 31, 1998. Approximately 1,800 workers are permanently employed on the site, and contract work means that up to 6,000 workers are on the site at peak times.

Serious industrial accidents occurred several times in the refinery, leading to a total of 23 deaths between 1974 and 2004. Preventive security improvements by BP remained incomplete.

On March 23, 2005, during the commissioning of an isomerization unit, an estimated 28,700 liters of flammable hydrocarbons leaked from a containment vessel within a few minutes, causing an explosion in which 15 workers were killed and 180 injured. The financial damage was more than $ 1.5 billion. Operator errors, outdated equipment and design errors in the control instruments contributed significantly to the accident - for example, a separator tower was operated for several hours with the level control valve closed, while normal values ​​for the tower level and valve flow were displayed to the operator. The liquid that eventually overflowed got into an outdated and known unsafe retention container, leaked there in a fountain and ignited outside. The subsequent explosion destroyed, among other things, several office trailers next to the container in which the fatalities were. After the accident, BP changed the guidelines for placing such trailers.

Subsequent reports by the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board and an independent investigation group led by James Baker harshly criticized corporate governance and the refinery's safety standards.

Deepwater Horizon oil rig

Deepwater Horizon on fire
Deepwater Horizon (Central America)
Deepwater Horizon
Deepwater Horizon

BP was the tenant of the Transocean- operated Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico . On April 20, 2010, an explosion occurred which was followed by a fire. On April 22, 2010, the platform sank. The uncontrolled leakage of oil was observed immediately after the platform went down . Well over 5,000 barrels (800,000 liters) of oil leaked out every day . During a hearing of the US Congress has even (15.1 million liters) spoken by 95,000 barrels a day. A state of emergency has been declared in the US state of Louisiana . BP said the company will take full responsibility for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and will pay for the damage caused by the oil spill. Internal BP documents showed that the company was aware of significant security issues 11 months before the disaster.

On June 18, 2010, BP supervisory board chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg withdrew crisis management from CEO Tony Hayward with immediate effect. This was taken over by BP manager Robert Dudley.

According to calculations by BP and a corporate publication dated June 25, 2010, the accrued costs of the oil spill amount to almost 2 billion euros (USD 2.35 billion), according to information at the beginning of July already 2.5 billion euros (3.1 Billion USD). Since the start of the disaster, the value of BP shares has halved. Due to the financial consequences of the catastrophe and the sharply lower share price, the group fears a hostile takeover, and British government circles believe the collapse of the country's largest company is possible. To prevent this, the group was looking for investors.

On July 19, 2010, it was reported that attorneys for victims of the disaster in the United States had filed at least three lawsuits against BP under the RICO Act . This refers to a federal law that was originally directed against the Mafia , and if BP were convicted according to this, the amount of damages would amount to three times the actual damage, in addition to any other pronounced penalties. The US Department of Justice is currently examining whether the RICO Act will apply in this case.

After the disaster, BP polluted the Gulf of Mexico with several million liters of the controversial chemical Corexit , which acts as a dispersant and reduces the visibility of the leaked oil. Many cleaning workers and coastal residents were seriously harmed by Corexit. BP has staffing ties with the manufacturing company of Corexit, was informed about the toxic effects of the chemical and downplayed the health hazard.

Allegations of human rights abuse

In the black book Markenf Firmen  - The machinations of global corporations , BP is accused of serious human rights violations, including "financing civil war and arms trade, destroying livelihoods in oil-producing areas and cooperating with military regimes". According to the authors, there has never been a lawsuit against the book, although a change in false statements of fact could easily be obtained legally.

In 2010 the Neue Zürcher Zeitung also mentioned human rights violations related to BP in Colombia , "where indigenous people claim they were illegally evicted from their land and accuse the company of having committed 9,000 murder cases". According to the Black Book Brand Companies, BP financed the sixteenth military brigade in Colombia for years.

On September 1, 2010, the chairman of the supervisory board, the outgoing and new managing director and the responsible management of the oil and energy group BP / Great Britain received the Black Planet Award 2010 from the Ethics & Economics Foundation ethecon . The Black Planet Award is given annually to people who have made an outstanding contribution to the destruction and ruin of the Blue Planet. The Foundation sees a dismaying disregard for and violation of human ethics in dealing with the Gulf of Texas oil disaster in the summer of 2010.

Accusation of improper disposal of refinery residues

According to its own information, BP Gelsenkirchen GmbH calculates 20 million euros for the annual disposal of residues containing heavy metals that arise during the production of gasoline. In 2018, with the help of internal documents and statements from a former employee, the improper disposal of these refinery residues, which had been taking place at least since 2011, was discovered. In order to save the expensive disposal costs, the toxic and carcinogenic hazardous waste was redeclared as supposedly harmless soot pellets and stored on a landfill in Hünxe by means of a waste broker . At least 30,000 tons were improperly disposed of in this way. Criticism was also raised against the district government of Münster , which tolerated the behavior of the group without the availability of a safety data sheet. The proceedings of the public prosecutor's office were also criticized in the subsequent process at the Bochum regional court . Only two men from the waste disposal industry who had traded the soot pellets were charged. The BP group has not yet been held responsible.


As a consortium leader, BP is involved in the following projects:


The main shareholders (share capital) are:

Proportion of [%] Shareholders
27.13 JPMorgan Chase
7.60 Blackrock, Inc.
4.00 The Vanguard Group, Inc

Status: end of 2019


  • BP Fifty Years in Pictures. A story in pictures of the development of the BP Group 1909-1959 . London, British Petroleum Co, 1959.

Web links

Commons : BP  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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Coordinates: 51 ° 30 '28.4 "  N , 0 ° 8' 3.5"  W.