BP was founded on April 14, 1909, as the Anglo Persian Oil Company. It was renamed the Anglo Iranian Oil Company in 1935 and then again changed to the British Petroleum Company in 1954. The name British Petroleum Company PLC was adopted in 1982. After merging with Amoco in 1998, the corporation took the name BP Amoco before assuming the name BP in 2000. The Anglo Persian Oil Company was formed to take over and finance an oil-field concession granted by the Iranian government to an English investor, William Knox D’Arcy. The first successful oil wells were drilled at Masjed Soleyman, and crude oil was piped to a refinery built at Abadan, from which the first cargo of oil was exported in March 1912. Other Iranian fields and refineries were built, and by 1938 Abadan had the largest single refinery in the world. The concession was revised in 1933, briefly suspended in 1951 through 1953, and renewed in 1953 in a consortium with other oil companies (History.com).
In 1914 the British government became the company’s principal stockholder. Effective January 1, 1955, British Petroleum became a holding company. Beginning in 1977 the British government reduced its ownership of British Petroleum by selling shares to the public, and in the late 1980s the government turned over British Petroleum entirely too private ownership by selling its remaining shares. This cleared the way for British Petroleum to acquire Britoil PLC, an independent oil company that produced oil from the North Sea fields (History.com)
British Petroleum developed oil fields and built refineries in several more countries, including major interests in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay and in the United Kingdom sector of the North Sea, where, in 1965, British Petroleum made the first commercial discovery of natural gas and, in 1970, the first discovery of a major oil field. Beginning in 1970, BP merged its assets in the United States with those of the Standard Oil Company, in which BP acquired a...