With the new millennium came a new focus for the company – within the first five years it had changed its name to BP, set its sights on newer assets and established an alternative and low carbon energy business
In 2000, BP Amoco acquired both the US-based oil and gas company ARCO and the lubricants and speciality chemicals company Burmah Castrol.
Following the major tie-ups with Amoco, ARCO, Burmah Castrol and others, in July 2000 BP Amoco announced it would now simply call itself BP and revealed the ‘Helios’ symbol, a green and yellow sunflower logo named after the Greek sun god. The parent company formally changed its name from BP Amoco plc to BP plc at the annual meeting the following year.
In 2001, BP announced the purchase of Veba Oil from E.On, bringing Aral – the leading retail brand in Germany – into the BP Group.
In 2003, BP and a grouping of Russian businessmen, AAR, announced the combination of BP’s Russian interests with AAR’s TNK to form TNK-BP, a 50:50 joint venture that would be the third-biggest oil and gas company in Russia. Bob Dudley was appointed chief executive.
Farewell to the Forties field
As part of its focus on newer assets, BP sold its interests in the Forties field, the first major field in the UK North Sea. BP also sold its last coal interest, a stake in the KPC mine in Indonesia.
In line with the 1997 speech by Lord Browne, group chief executive, that global warming was real and that action was needed, in 2005 BP established an alternative and low-carbon energy business, BP Alternative Energy, bringing together BP’s interests in solar and wind power, biofuels, carbon capture and storage and gas-fired power generation. BP said it planned to invest up to $8 billion in the business over 10 years - which was achieved in 2013.
On 23 March 2005, 15 workers were killed and more than 170 injured in an explosion at the Texas City Refinery. Lord Browne pledged to prevent another catastrophe.
Over the following years, BP made major investments into operations and safety in its US refining business, including implementing the recommendations of the official report into the Texas City accident by James Baker.
In the summer of 2005, BP’s giant new Thunder Horse floating production platform in the Gulf of Mexico, which was still being commissioned, almost sank following the passage of a hurricane.
Later in the year, BP agreed to sell Innovene, the largest part of its petrochemicals business including refineries in Scotland and France, to UK-based chemicals company Ineos for $9 billion.
Commissioning of the 1,800 km BTC (Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan) pipeline, taking oil from Azerbaijan oil fields in the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, was completed in 2006.
In 2006, oil spills from pipeline leaks in March and then August led to partial shutting in of production from the BP-operated Prudhoe Bay oil field in Alaska. Full production was resumed following a comprehensive inspection of the transit lines. BP committed to spending nearly $550 million on integrity management in Alaska, replacing 16 miles of transit lines.
Also in 2006, US authorities took action against BP, alleging manipulation of propane markets.
BP sold its last refinery in the UK, Coryton, in 2007 and then acquired its partner’s interest to take full ownership of the Rotterdam refinery in the Netherlands.
In May 2007, Lord Browne resigned as BP group chief executive following allegations regarding his personal life. He was replaced as chief executive by Tony Hayward, who had been head of BP’s exploration and production segment.
In the deep water offshore Angola, the Greater Plutonio project began production.
In 2008, BP acquired a 50% stake in Tropical Bioenergia, making its entry in the Brazilian sugarcane-to-bioethanol industry.
After an extended period of dispute, BP and AAR agreed to resolve their differences over TNK-BP; Bob Dudley stepped down as TNK-BP chief executive.
In the same year, BP signed up as a partner to London 2012, the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.
BP and CNPC of China signed an agreement in 2009 with Iraq’s SOC to operate and expand production from southern Iraq’s massive Rumaila oilfield.
In January 2010, Carl-Henric Svanberg succeeded Peter Sutherland as chairman of BP.
BP became the official energy partner of the US Olympic Committee and a sponsor of the 2010 and 2012 US Olympic and Paralympic teams.
On 23 March 2005, 15 workers were killed and more than 170 injured in an explosion at the Texas City Refinery in the US.
In October, BP announced the formation of the BP US Refineries Independent Safety Review Panel. At the start of 2007, the panel, chaired by former US Secretary of State James Baker, reported on the safety culture across BP’s US refineries.
The panel found that, while BP’s focus had been on personal safety performance – where significant improvement had been achieved – there was insufficient emphasis on process safety. It said that, by concentrating on improving personal safety statistics, the group had developed a false sense of confidence in its safety culture.
BP publicly committed to implement the panel’s 10 recommendations and to integrate the actions with the many activities already under way to upgrade safety and integrity systems across all its US refineries. It allocated $1 billion to improve and maintain the refinery over the following five years.
Across its US refining system, BP addressed factors that contributed to the incident, as well as control of work systems and process safety culture and leadership. Between 2007 and 2010, it spent $7 billion upgrading all aspects of safety at its US refineries and also to replace infrastructure in Alaska.
Worldwide, BP conducted further accident risk assessments of all its major operations and began implementation of a revised integrity management standard that would apply to every significant asset.
On 20 April, an explosion and subsequent fire led to the loss of 11 lives and the sinking of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which had been completing operations on the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico (see BP’s response, below, and find out more about its commitment to the Gulf of Mexico).
In October 2010, Tony Hayward stepped down as BP group chief executive and was succeeded by Bob Dudley.
In January 2011, BP announced the sale of two of its US refineries, Texas City in Texas and Carson in California. BP planned to focus its business and investment on its three remaining US refineries - Whiting, Cherry Point and Toledo - which benefit from access to advantaged feedstocks. In particular, significant investment in the Whiting refinery, near Chicago, greatly increased its capacity to process heavy Canadian crude. This was completed in late 2013.
In another significant partnership, BP announced it would take a 30% stake in the 23 oil and gas blocks in India held by Reliance Industries. The deal included the major producing KG D6 fields and plans to co-operate in gas marketing in the Indian market.
BP was also awarded a licence to explore four deepwater offshore blocks within the Great Australian Bight, off the coast of South Australia, with the right to develop any commercially viable oil or gas discoveries.
In February, BP said it would build a new PTA plant at the Zhuhai site in Guangdong Province, China.
BP further expanded its growing Brazilian biofuels business with the acquisition in March of ethanol and sugar producer Companhia Nacional de Açúcar e Álcool (CNAA).
Clair Ridge gets the go-ahead
In October 2011, the UK government granted BP and its partners – Shell, ConocoPhillips and Chevron –approval to proceed with the £4.5 billion Clair Ridge project, the second phase of development of the giant Clair field, west of the Shetland Islands.
It was one of a series of investments offshore UK – also including the Quad 204 project – that would see BP and partners making investments totalling around £10 billion over the coming few years. For BP, this would represent the highest level of annual investment – around £4 billion – the company had ever made into the UK North Sea.
In April 2012, the $25 billion Shah Deniz Stage 2 project got the go-ahead. The project would bring 16 billion m3 of gas per year from the Caspian Sea to Turkey and Europe, opening up the ‘southern gas corridor’, with first gas exports expected in 2017.
BP was a partner of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games held in its home city, London.
In October 2012, BP agreed to sell Rosneft its 50% interest in TNK-BP for $12.3 billion in cash and an 18.5% shareholding in Rosneft. Together with its existing holding, this gave BP a 19.75% interest in Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil company.
Commitment to research
BP reaffirmed its commitment to research and development in August with the establishment of a 10-year, $100 million international research centre – the BP International Centre for Advanced Materials, based at the University of Manchester, UK.
In December 2012, construction started on a new facility BP’s campus in Houston to house the largest supercomputing complex for commercial research in the world. The high-performance computing centre, which opened in mid-2013, serves as a worldwide hub for processing and managing geologic and seismic data from across BP’s portfolio.
On 20 April 2010, an explosion and subsequent fire led to the loss of 11 lives and the sinking of the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which had been completing operations on the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, 130 miles south-east of New Orleans. Oil flowed from the well for 87 days before it was permanently sealed.
On 1 October, Tony Hayward stepped down and Bob Dudley replaced him as the company's chief executive. To underpin its commitments and liabilities arising from the Gulf of Mexico accident and oil spill, BP temporarily suspended payment of its dividend and announced a major divestment programme.
Over the next four years, BP sold $38 billion of assets worldwide, selling non-core assets and focusing its global portfolio of businesses. The programme included BP’s exit from the Upstream in Venezuela, Vietnam, and two other countries as well as disposals of oil and gas fields, refineries and marketing businesses, among others.
BP also created a new safety division with sweeping powers to oversee and audit its operations around the world.
Making BP a safer, more risk-aware business was the first priority in the 10-point plan that Bob Dudley announced in 2011, designed to deliver stability and restore trust and value during the following three years.