The BP Archive

BP Today

BP is one of the world’s largets energy companies with well-established operations in the UK and the rest of Europe, North and South America, Asia, Australasia, Africa and Russia. Its main activities are the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas; refining, marketing, supply and transportation; and the manufacture and marketing of petrochemicals. It has a growing presence in gas and power and in solar power generation.

The way the group is organised reflects the diversity of the activities. BP is divided into four main business segments: Exploration and Production; Refining and Marketing; Petrochemicals; and Gas, Power and Renewables. The business segments operate across four regions and their activities are supported by a number of key corporate functions.

The BP Archive

The BP Archive is the Archive relating to BP plc (incorporated as Anglo-Persian Oil Co Ltd in 1909). It holds a number of heritage companies including Castrol Limited and the Burmah Oil Company Limited. It is also holds the archives of several major jointly owned subsidiaries: Kuwait Oil Co Ltd; Iraq Petroleum Co Ltd; and Shell-Mex & B.P. Ltd. The Archive has been in existence since 1921. Its contents reflect the shape of the Company from its earliest days right up to the present. Records produced by BP in the course of its operations continue to be reviewed for archival value and keep the story of the company alive and current. The Archive is open to the public and viewing will by prior appointment only. Records opened up to 31st December 1976 unless already in the public domain.

How can we help?
The Archive has been used for a number of research papers from political to advertising. Topics have included Labour relations in Iran, 1929 – 1951; British Architects in the Middle East, 1918 – 1939; Rural Imagery in Petrol advertising in the UK; Early 20th Century road tankers, Employees as volunteers in two world wars; Political and economic influence of the Bakhtiari tribe, Iran 1890 – 1915; History of petrol station design in UK 1955 – 1995, to name but a few.

Here are some other suggestions that the Archive could help with – Iran worker relations / trade unionism; Ex-Pat life; Corporate social life; History of BP’s advertising; Government relations with BP; Relations with interwar Italy; Women in BP

As well as the records of the day to day working of the company we also have:
• Photos of tankers; refineries; offices; oil rigs; and other sites
• Photos of people (not all them named individuals but depicting various activities); local atmosphere eg photographs of landscape, local buildings and people in Persia and Burma
• Company Magazines
• Sponsorship – photos and file material on vehicles and people (mainly Castrol, but some BP material exists)
• Advertising material form SMBP and Castrol (again some BP material exists)