BP on the Prowl: From Iran to Canada and Alaska

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Following nationalization of oil in Iran, Anglo Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) changed its name to British Petroleum in 1954, and forayed into lands far from Iran:

Triad was really formed by the Tanner brothers who were local men that were financiers and had bought some initial property, had a little bit of production and then BP had decided they were going to come into Canada. It was a multi-national that hadn’t arrived early like the Chevron and Shell and that in the 50’s, so they really arrived on the scene in 1954. Well a lot of the acreage was tied so they formed it through buying an interest in the Tanner brothers, Triad Oil Company which was then owned about 65% by BP and 35% by the Canadian public. [GBM p7]

BP also bought minority shares in Supertest Petroleum Corporation, Limited. Eventually, Supertest “merged with BP Canada (1969) Ltd. into BP Canada Limited in 1971.” [CCR]

[BP came to Alaska in 1959 to explore for oil and gas on the North Slope, and it partnered with Sinclair Oil Corporation 50-50 to bid on state leases in what turned out to be the Kuparuk oil field in the State’s first North Slope lease sale on 9 December 1964. Sinclair declined to participate with BP in the State’s next North Slope lease sale on 14 July 1965, so BP bid for leases in the Prudhoe Bay area without a partner. The Richfield-Humble partnership concentrated their bids on the crest of the Prudhoe Bay geologic structure and outbid BP there, but BP was successful in acquiring many leases on the flanks of the structure. It turned out that the Richfield-Humble leases contained over 80% of the gas cap in the Prudhoe Bay field, but only 43% of the oil; BP’s acreage contained only 14% of the gas cap but 51% of the oil. [UA p23]

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