Saturday, 7 January 2012
CASE 378 - BP
BP p.l.c.or British petrolium is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors". It is vertically-integrated and is active in every area of the oil and gas industry, including exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals, power generation and trading. It also has major renewable energy activities, including in biofuels, hydrogen, solar and wind power.
BP has operations in over 80 countries, produces around 3.8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day and has 22,400 service stations worldwide. Its largest division is BP America, which is the biggest producer of oil and gas in the United States and is headquartered in Houston, Texas.As at 31 December 2010 BP had total proven commercial reserves of 18.07 billion barrels of oil equivalent. The name "BP" derives from the initials of one of the company's former legal names, British Petroleum.
BP's track record of corporate social responsibility has been mixed. The company has been involved in a number of major environmental and safety incidents and received criticism for its political influence. However, in 1997 it became the first major oil company to publicly acknowledge the need to take steps against climate change, and in that year established a company-wide target to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases. BP currently invests over $1 billion per year in the development of renewable energy sources, and has committed to spend $8 billion on renewables in the 2005 to 2015 period.
BP's primary listing is on the London Stock Exchange and it is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. As of December 2011, it was the 4th largest company on the FTSE, with a market capitalisation of £87.1 billion. It has a secondary listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
A Gulf petrol station in Louisville, Kentucky using the previous BP prototype. BP purchased all Gulf stations in the southeastern United States in 1980s after Chevron, Inc. was forced to divest the stations by the United States Justice Department.
BP was named by Mother Jones Magazine, an investigative journal that "exposes the evils of the corporate world, the government, and the mainstream media", as one of the ten worst corporations in both 2001 and 2005 based on its environmental and human rights records. In 1991 BP was cited as the most polluting company in the US based on EPA toxic release data. BP has been charged with burning polluted gases at its Ohio refinery (for which it was fined $1.7 million), and in July 2000 BP paid a $10 million fine to the EPA for its management of its US refineries. According to PIRG research, between January 1997 and March 1998, BP was responsible for 104 oil spills. BP patented the Dracone Barge to aid in oil spill clean-ups across the world.
As of 11 February 2007, BP announced that it would spend $8 billion over ten years to research alternative methods of fuel, including natural gas, hydrogen, solar, and wind. A $500 million grant to the University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to create an Energy Biosciences Institute has recently come under attack, over concerns about the global impacts of the research and privatisation of public universities.
BP's investment in green technologies peaked at 4% of its exploratory budget, but they have since closed their alternative energy headquarters in London. As such they invest more than other oil companies, but it has been called greenwashing due to the small proportion of the overall budget. BP was a nominee for the 2009 Greenwash Awards for deliberately exaggerating its environmental credentials. According to Greenpeace in 2008 BP invested $20 billion in fossil fuels, but only $1.5 billion in all alternative forms of energy.
In 2004, BP began marketing low-sulphur diesel fuel for industrial use.
BP Solar is a leading producer of solar panels since its purchase of Lucas Energy Systems in 1980 and Solarex (as part of its acquisition of Amoco) in 2000. BP Solar had a 20% world market share in photovoltaic panels in 2004 when it had a capacity to produce 90 MW/year of panels. It has over 30 years' experience operating in over 160 countries with manufacturing facilities in the US, Spain, India and Australia, and has more than 2000 employees worldwide. BP has closed its US plants in Frederick, Maryland as part of a transition to manufacturing in China. This is due in part to China's upswing in solar use and the protectionist laws that require 85% of the materials to be produced in China. Through a series of acquisitions in the solar power industry BP Solar became the third largest producer of solar panels in the world. It was recently announced that BP has obtained a contract for a pilot project to provide on-site solar power to Wal-Mart stores.
Between 2005 and 2010, BP invested about $5 billion in its renewable energy business, mainly in biofuel and wind power projects. In 2011, BP plans to invest $1 billion in renewables, roughly the same amount it invested last year.
As of 2011, BP is planning to construct a biofuel refinery in the Southeastern US and has also acquired Verenium’s cellulosic biofuels business for $98 million. In Brazil, BP holds a 50 percent stake in Tropical BioEnergia and plans to operate two ethanol refineries. In the US BP has more than 1,200 megawatts (MW) of wind-powered electricity capacity and in July 2010 it began construction of the 250 MW Cedar Creek II Wind Farm in Colorado