The history of British Petroleum extends to the year 1901 when William D'Arcy's Anglo-Persian Company       made the first oil drills in Persia.  The company's first retail gas stations opened in Britain in 1921. In 1998 BP merged with a U.S.-based company, Amoco Oil Company and consequently had to rebrand most of its retail gas stations and all convenience stores throughout the United States of America.  British Petroleum is the largest foreign firm to be traded in the US stock market and it has the second largest retail gas locations in the United States.

British Petroleum is a multi-national company with active operations in over one hundred countries. The company's main activities revolve around exploration, refining, manufacturing, supply and marketing of natural gas and oil. The company was conceived thanks to the efforts of one William Knox D'Arcy who invested much of his efforts, money and time in the belief that he could find new oil deposits in the Middle East. British Petroleum is now a major player in the energy industry and runs its business with a high degree of quality research and technology. The Company's corporate headquarters are based in London, England  but it has company has offices across several US cities.

British Petroleum defines its mission as being "responsible, progressive, innovative, and performance driven".

"Progressive - the company believes in the principle of mutual advantage and works towards building productive relationships with other players in the oil industry as well as its customers.

"Responsible - British petroleum is deeply committed to the safety and development of the communities and societies in which it operates.  The company envisions creating no harm or damage to the people and environment.

"Innovative - the company is well focused on making breakthrough advances in its operations by employing a well experienced workforce and also through use of the state of the art technology. 

"Performance Driven - the company delivers its promises through continuous improvement on safety and reliability of its operations. 

To achieve its business objectives, the company has put in place some strategic plans which it hopes will work towards the realizations of these objectives. Strategic planning entails identifying where an organization wants to be in the future and what mechanisms should be put in place so as to achieve this objective. Strategic planning is essential to the long term survival of any business enterprise and it includes:

International marketing is the application of marketing doctrines to more than one country.  Firms need to understand the environment they are operating in to develop their competences and enhance their competitive advantage and also to understand their strategic options.

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BP Oil Company is the leading supplier and trader of energy on an international context. The company contributes to a critical role in making sure that the complex supply chain of energy operates in a manner that is efficient as well as effective over the whole world (Pompeo, 2002) In the recent past, the company has strived to bring together the supply, optimization of the products that flow in and also out of the assets of the company, and the activities associated with risk management in to one single function. This entails the supply as well as the trading activities that encompass the crude oil together with the oil products, the natural gas, chemicals, power, finance as well as shipping thus creating a clear distinction between the company and its competitors in consideration of the structure as well as the scale of the organization (Baig,  2007).

BP Mission, vision and value

In its statement of mission, British Petroleum Company wants to be recognized as a giant company and has a fundamental belief that it can make a difference in the world.  The company aspires to help the whole world meet the acute need for light, heat and mobility capabilities. This, the company hopes to achieve by developing affordable, secure and environmental friendly energy.

SWOT analysis of British Petroleum

SWOT analysis involves identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to which a company is exposed. The SWOT analysis of British petroleum reveals quite a lot valuable information about the company's potential to achieve its strategic plans.

v  Strengths

British Petroleum has been ranked the third largest energy company in the world. Though its headquarters are in the UK, the company has subsidiaries spread all over the world. The company trades in the London Stock exchange, the New York Stock exchange market has been listed in the FTSE 100 Index. The company has a strong brand management driven by its slogan and in 2008, its profits rose by eighty per cent due to record gas and oil prices. 

v  Weaknesses

In spite of its huge potential to be a leading player in the oil and gas industry, British Petroleum has had some challenges which have adversely affected its operations. Most notable of these challenges are;

v  Opportunities

British petroleum has invested over $8 billion in the research and development of alternative fuel methods such as hydrogen, natural gas, wind and solar energy and this is anticipated to bear viable fruits in the forthcoming decade. The company has further identified suitable frontiers for expansion of its operations in the post-Soviet territories. Further, British Petroleum has launched a more flexible price policy to better compete with its rivals in the energy industry.

The company looks to growing profitability while increasing its operational efficiency and at the same time reducing costs.

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