The BP story, from first oil to tomorrow’s energies
History of BP
|1901 - First Oil
The vapours rose clearly in the sunlight, and stank of rotten eggs. But to the explorer George Reynolds it was the best thing he had smelled in seven years. By the early morning of 26 May 1908, the whole camp reeked of sulphur. At four o’clock the drill reached 1,180 feet and a fountain of oil spewed out into the dawn sky. Within a year,
the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which would one day become BP, was in business.
|1917 - Buying a brand name
The Anglo-Persian Oil Company bought British Petroleum, the subsidary of a German Company that, like Anglo-Persiam, had needed to get its products to Customers around the UK. The sale inventory includede 520 depots, 535 railway tank wagons and 650 horses among other things, Service Stations? Er, no shops still sold BP “Motor Spirit” in two gallon cans.
|1925 - Beep Beep
The automobile age is in full swing. 6,000 British Petroleum pumps dot the UK roadside, compared to just 69 pumps four years earlier.
|1939 - The world at war
Life was dangerous even for those not on the front lines, on open seas especially. Forty-four of the company’s tankers were sunk during the war. But there were also successes. Anglo-Iranian managed to substantially boost its meagre oil production at a field near Nottingham, England helping the country get by. In fact it was one of the war’s best kept secrets.
|1954 - BP
Iranian oil production resumes but with different terms. Now just one of a handful of companies in Iran, Anglo-Iranian becomes British Petroleum.
|1969 - Cold shoulder
After years of searching for oil on Alaska’s North Slope (and nearly giving up hope) BP announced a major discovery there but no oil would flow from Alaska for BP for another 8 years. The environmental issues raised by the discovery gave new momentum to eco-campaigners and inspired a new breed of corporate environmentalist.
|1989 - Record breakers
BP forties field in the North Sea enters the Guinness Book of World records as the first oil field in Western Europe to produce 2 billion barrels of oil!
|1997- A change of climate
BP became the first major energy company to acknowledge the potential risks of global warming. BP’s CEO, gave a major speech on the subject. What did he say? “It would be unwise and potentially dangerous to ignore the mounting concern.” No single organisation could fix the problem, he said but BP intended to do it’s part.
|2000 - A bright new look
In 2000 BP, now including Amoco, Arco and Castrol, unveiled a new global brand with a distinctive new mark, a sunburst of green, yellow and white. The helios was born; named after the sun god of ancient Greece it symbolized energy in all its dynamic forms. The companies goals? “Better people, better products, beyond petroleum.”
|2009 - 100 Years of BP
BP marks its centenary in 2009 with events and publications celebrating 100 years of discoveries and achievements - from our incorporation as an upstart oil company in 1909 to the global energy group we have become; we’ve always relied on the restless energy of our people. Today we are applying the same dedication to the energy challenges and opportunities that lay ahead in the 21st century.