Queen Elizabeth II
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In addition to her many other roles, she was, throughout her life, a champion of British business at home and overseas.
Over the course of our long history, we were fortunate to welcome the Queen and other members of the Royal Family to bp sites around the world. We take a look back at some of Her Majesty’s visits and remember her support with gratitude.
Launching the British Princess, 1946
Some 6,000 people crowded into a Sunderland dockyard in April to watch Princess Elizabeth, then heir to the throne, launch the bp oil tanker, the British Princess.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh combined meeting the public with promoting British industry.
bp’s refinery in Kent, 1955
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited bp’s oil refinery in Kent, where they ‘clocked in’.
The cards they used on their visit remain in bp’s archive today.
Touring Australia and New Zealand, 1963
During the Queen’s tour of Australia and New Zealand, bp fuelled the Royal Yacht Britannia at Lyttleton Harbour, just outside Christchurch.
During the tour, the Queen and Prince Philip flew over bp’s Kwinana refinery near Perth, Australia. “Kwinana refinery sends loyal greetings” was marked out in 50-foot-high letters in an area cleared especially so that the royal couple could see the message from their plane. During the flypast, 3,000 people involved in the refinery’s construction paused to watch and wave.
The Queen was involved in several of our company’s milestones and achievements, including North Sea firsts, refinery openings and accomplishments in engineering.
Starting first oil from the Forties field, 1975
She was present at the inauguration in November of the first major North Sea oilfield, bp’s Forties field, where she pushed the button to start the flow of oil.
At the event, she called it a day of “outstanding significance in the history of the United Kingdom” and a “critical milestone in the development of our energy resources.”
Opening bp’s chemicals plant in Hull, 1981
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh opened our new Hull BP Chemicals refinery on the same day she opened the Humber Bridge.
At the time, the plant was the sole UK manufacturer of acetic acid – a chemical used to make pharmaceuticals, rubber and plastics.
Inaugurating Sullom Voe terminal, 1981
The same year, the Queen inaugurated the Sullom Voe oil and gas terminal in Shetland, Europe’s biggest at the time. “The significance of this for the prosperity of Britain as a whole is immense,” she said at the event.
Inaugurating the Clyde oilfield, 1987
In August, the Queen visited the Britoil offices in Glasgow, which had been acquired by bp, for the inauguration of the North Sea Clyde oilfield. The field was operated by bp until 1996.
Rewarding environmental achievement, 1993
The Queen donned a white lab coat on a visit to the then Castrol subsidiary, Sericol, where she recognized the company with the Queen’s Award for Environmental Achievement for its water-based ink developments. While there, she visited the main factory and national distribution centre.
Her Majesty also supported arts events and charities backed by bp.
Africa ’95 in Deptford, 1995
In November, Her Majesty attended the Africa ’95 celebrations hosted in London’s Deptford. As part of bp’s involvement with and support of the Deptford City Challenge to promote inner city economic regeneration, then bp CEO John Browne accompanied the Queen on her visit.
bp Portrait Awards, 2018
bp was a long-time sponsor of the prestigious bp Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery. The 2017 winner, Benjamin Sullivan, was commissioned to paint a portrait of the Queen to mark 100 years of the RAF Club in London. She unveiled the portrait in October 2018 at the club.
"Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered as one of the most remarkable sovereigns in all history. As the longest-reigning UK monarch, Her Majesty played a critical and unifying role through extraordinary times. On behalf of bp, I offer my sincerest condolences to the Royal Family and to everyone mourning her loss.”
Bernard Looney, bp chief executive officer