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ABOUT THIS COMPANY:Big player
BP might as well stand for Biggest Petroleum, as it is one of the largest integrated oil concerns in the world. BP (nee British Petroleum) is often referred to as one of the six “Super Majors” of oil, along with Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Total S.A. and Royal Dutch Shell. As the largest oil and gas producer in the United States, the company possesses reserves of 17.8 billion barrels of oil and gas equivalent—in addition to being a leading refiner. It runs some 24,100 gas stations worldwide, including around 12,000 in the United States. Before 2010, BP consistently ranked in the top five on the Fortune Global 500, while and generated an average of $20 billion in net profits each year. The company is divided into three principal business segments: exploration and production, refining and marketing and other businesses and corporate. In addition to large holdings in Alaska, BP has considerable production operations in Canada, the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, Trinidad and India.
As a chief competitor to ExxonMobil, BP has handily surpassed its rival in at least one category: ecological disasters. While Exxon's 1989 Valdez incident had once been synonymous with oil spills, BP now holds the record in the wake of the massive Gulf of Mexico spill, the result of a catastrophic chain of events. In April 2010, a deadly explosion on a BP oil rig in the Gulf triggered the leak of countless millions of barrels of oil into the waters off the Louisiana coast. Numerous attempts by BP in the weeks that followed failed to stem the spewing crude, while the effects of the spill could be felt beyond the Gulf's ecosystem, from the local fishing industries to national tourism and travel activity. The damage to its public image led BP to establish a multibillion-dollar fund for victims, on top of an already costly fiasco.
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