BP: Extract from 'Written in Flames'

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BP has come a long way from the days of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, when Winston Churchill has to buy government shares in it to save It from Shell; when M16 had to concoct strange plans to save It's oil fields in Iran.

Now BP treats Britain like any other exploitation and the government is likely to sell Its remaining shares this year. But BP is still loyal to the British ruling class, as are all the British multinationals. BP gets oil and gas from Dorset to Scotland, Indonesia to Canada and owns the American Standard Oil with its Alaskan fields.

Over the years it has tried to spread out from oil and gas. It is now the biggest animal feed producer 1n Europe and America, breeding chickens, pigs and sheep, salmon farming, selling oven-ready poultry. It produces industrial chemicals and sells detergents and insecticides mostly to Third World countries. It mines uranium from Australia, copper and gold from Canada, the Amazon rain forest and Indonesia.

BP chairman, Sir Peter Waiters, talks of turning the petrol stations into supermarkets, making the financial department into a merchant bank and forgetting about oil. But at the moment, BP Is still the sixth largest oil company, with pre tax profits of £7 billion in '85, dropping to £ 1 billion In '86.

Waiters has been chair and managing director since 1981. He was a Birmingham University graduate. Now he earns £260,972 and lives at 51 Cholmeley Park, Highgate, London N6. He's 56 and a director of the National Westminster Bank as well as the Police Foundation.

His top executives are:

  • Roger Bexon, an Oxford and Tulsa trained geologist, who's also a director of the cable company BICC. He's 61 and lives at 33 York Terrace East,Regents Park, NWl.
  • Peter Cazalet, the son of a Vice Admiral, joined BP after public school and Cambridge. He's 58 and a director of the P&O Line and De la Rue, the bank note printers. He Jives at 2 Sunnyside, Wimbledon SW19.
  • Robert Malpas (60), ex-ICI and a director of the oxygen firm BOC, lives at 2 Belgrave Mews West SW1

BP has links with the tobacco conglomerate BAT Industries, through its chairman Patrlck Sheehy. With Barings Bank through the chairman Sir John Baring, and with Lloyds Bank through Lindsay Alexander, former head of Ocean Transport and Trading, the shipping company with which Peter Waiters himself held a directorship.

Also on the BP board are Anthony Barber, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Alistalr Pllkington, retired head of the fam1ly run Pilklngton glass and optics business, and Sir Campbell Fraser, chair and majority owner of Scottish TV. This Glaswegian academic is also a director of BAT Industries and lives at Silver Birches- 4 Si1ver Lane, Purley in Surrey.