With more than a century of oil production behind it, the BP name is synonymous with operational excellence and has survived all sorts of turmoil, not to mention changing and growing demands for that most precious of commodities. The company is well established within South Africa and each day hundreds of thousands of motorists stop by at a local petrol station to refuel.
“BP is one of the world’s leading integrated oil and gas companies. We aim to create long-term value for shareholders by helping to meet growing demand for energy in a safe and responsible way. We strive to be a world-class operator, a responsible corporate citizen and a good employer,” states the latest Annual Report.
“Through our work we provide customers with fuel for transportation, energy for heat and light, lubricants to keep engines moving and the petrochemicals products used to make everyday items as diverse as paints, clothes and packaging. Our projects and operations help to generate employment, investment and tax revenues in countries and communities across the world. We employ around 85,000 people,” the Report continues.
Within South Africa the head count is around 1,000 people, employed by BPSA, with the main centres of employment located within Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
As well as co-owning the SAPREF refinery with Shell, through Masana Petroleum Solutions, BP has a 45 per cent minority stake in a commercial and industrial fuels marketing business, alongside its black empowerment partners. Masana Petroleum Solutions is the first black-owned and managed energy company of its kind in South Africa.
BPSA’s commitment to black empowerment was further enhanced in November 2014 with the news that it had sold a 25 per cent stake in the business to 2 black-owned partners that will give the new investors voting rights in the oil producer’s local operations.
The Kapela Black Economic Empowerment consortium acquired a 20 per cent stake plus one share and the BPSA education foundation gained a 5 per cent holding, BP Southern Africa said in an e-mailed statement.
The Kapela BEE group includes the Disability Empowerment Concerns Trust, a majority black trust supporting more than 2 million people with disabilities. At least 85 per cent of its beneficiaries are black and half are women. The group also includes a black-owned and managed private equity firm, according to BP Southern Africa.
Through the BPSA Education Foundation, the company seeks to “enhance the standard of living and improve the well-being of previously disadvantaged, specifically black women and people with disabilities, through education and skills development,” the local unit of Europe’s third-largest oil company by market value said in its statement.
The company’s South African interests focus on the refining and the marketing of fuels and lubricants, while neighbouring Angola is a source of oil reserves.
“We process crude oil at the SAPREF refinery and manufacture lubricants at an oil blending plant located in the city of Durban. In addition to a national network of BP-branded service stations, we operate 9 depots and 3 coastal installations and the largest rail gantry in Africa located in Pretoria with planned upgrades to key depots.
“The upgrades will help ensure security of supply in the areas BP operate in, distribution is safer and more efficient through shorter road deliveries to customers, optimized operations and improved road safety associated with shorter delivery routes. BP’s cutting-edge Fuels Technology Centre in Johannesburg further boosts the company’s ability to provide differentiated fuels in the South African market,” the corporate website describes.
But for millions of South Africans, the front end of BP’s operations in the country lie in its myriad of service stations, as the corporate website outlines:
“BP’s innovative convenience outlets provide a unique offering through BP Express, Wild Bean Café and Pick ‘n Pay Express. Wild Bean Café is so successful that it sells 2 million cups of coffee a year. The BP South Africa Wild Bean Café brand is among the top three in terms of profitability for the international Wild Bean Café market.
“BPSA and Pick n Pay (one of Africa’s largest and most consistently successful retailers of food, general merchandise and clothing) signed a formal agreement in April 2012 for 120 BP Express stores to be converted to Pick n Pay Express stores. The roll-out will concentrate on BPSA service stations which are most suitably located for Pick n Pay’s customers and is aligned with BPSA’s growth and investment plans over the next few years.”
In fact, the first Pick n Pay Express store was opened in 2008 and since then, the partnership between BP and Pick n Pay has gone from strength to strength.
The new convenience stores stock just over 2,500 lines; and trade 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In addition of course, the BP service station caters for every motorist’s needs with a range of premium fuels, including BP Ultimate Diesel and BP Ultimate Unleaded 93 & 95.
“BP continue to offer good quality products for the road or at home – pick up all of your essentials at our BP Express shops and Pick n Pay Express stores, stocking over 2,500 lines and trading 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our convenience options will make sure you’re re-fuelled and ready to get back on the road,” the company enthuses.