The British Petroleum Company; commonly referred to as BP constitutes one of the top five largest petroleum companies on a global scale. It was started in 1908 as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. In 1947, it changed its name to Anglo-Iranian Oil Company then to British Petroleum Company in 1954 (Ferrier 1994). Before the First World War, the economy of this company was very poor as activities of exploring oil in the Persian Gulf were not only difficult but also extremely costly. For a significant period, the company risked absorption by larger companies that had stable establishments in the industry (Ferrier 1994).
In 1917, Greenway acquired it in order to improve its performance and was able to achieve this. In the 1990s, BP made expansions in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It established new refineries in France and Scotland, and a research laboratory in Sunbury (Ferrier 1994). In 1954, the Anglo-Iranian Oil was renamed British Petroleum (Bamberg, 2000). The developments in the 1950s and 60s made the company stop overly depending on Iran for crude oil (Bamberg, 2000). It increased production in Iraq and Kuwait and built refineries in Australia, Europe and Aden. The oil crisis of 1970s had far reaching implications on the company (Bamberg, 2000). Specifically, BP lost access to a significant percentage of it crude oil supplies. In response, it decided to diversify which was not wise as the world economic crunch after 1979 compelled it to sell off some of its businesses (Bamberg, 2009).
In the early 1990s, BP was forced to reorganize its corporate structure, an act which had affected its performance extensively. In this regard, it became bureaucratic and planned major job cuts (Bamberg, 2009). As a result, employees lost faith in BP, and it incurred massive loses. Statistical evidence indicates that its sales reduced from $66.4 to $51.9 in a span of two years. Its profits declined from $3.2 billion to $811 million (Bamberg, 2009).
In the late 1990s, BP reorganized itself to remain competitive. Besides selling some of its assets, it eliminated 600 to 700 jobs. It then it employed strategic partnership in European refining operations, For instance, it merged its European refining operations with those of Mobil Corporation (Bamberg, 2009). The changes were rewarding; consequently, the sales of the company improved significantly.
Currently, BP holds global market share of about 3% in gas and oil production, and 4% in refineries with a market capitalization of over $220 billion. It serves millions of clients on a daily basis through its brands; Castrol, BP, Aral, Ultimate, ARCO, and connect. Its sales and other operating revenue was over $266 million by 2009 (Bamberg, 2009). It carries put exploration of oil in twenty six countries and produces in twenty two countries.
Bamberg, J. H., (2000). British Petroleum and global oil: 1950-1975: the challenge of nationalism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bamberg, J. H., (2009). The History of the British Petroleum Company. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ferrier, R. W., (1994). The Anglo-Iranian years: 1928-1954. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.