BP plc, formerly known as British Petroleum, is a British-based global energy company. It is the United Kingdom's largest corporation, the third largest energy company, and the fourth largest company overall in the world. BP is also one of the six supermajors, which are the largest non-state owned energy companies.
Originally created to exploit oil operations in Iran in the 1950s, BP was forced to explore other options when Iran’s oil production was nationalized in 1979. In response, the company began exploring other possible oil producing methods and areas including offshore drilling. Currently, BP is focused on deepwater offshore drilling and is the leader in exploration and production in that field. BP operates oil fields in the North Sea, Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, Azerbaijan, Vietnam, Angola, Columbia, Australia, and Norway.
Throughout BP’s history there have been a number of human rights, environmental, and safety catastrophes. In 2005 BP was responsible for an explosion at a Texas City refinery that killed 15 people and injured 180 others (details below). It was later found that maintenance and safety at the plant had been cut as a cost-saving measure. The most recent catastrophe is the ongoing Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which killed 11 people when the rig initially exploded and has already caused extensive environmental devastation due to the oil spilling from the well.
Though BP was one of the first supermajors to openly promise to combat global warming, they have made little in the way of substantive investment in renewable energy. While adopting the slogan “Beyond Petroleum” and changing their logo to a green flower pattern, they have only committed 3% of their profits to renewable energies. This has led to accusations of greenwashing, or rebranding to give the illusion of environmental concern.