Oil Sales & Production Increased
BP’s First Annual Report Under New Name (1955)

Arash Norouzi
The Mossadegh Project | September 30, 2022                    

This annual report by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, its first after renaming themselves British Petroleum, ran as an advertisement in various newspapers and trade journals in May 1955. BP Chairman William Fraser was identified by his title Lord Strathalmond (aka 1st Baron Strathalmond).

Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC/BP) | Archive





The 46th annual general meeting of The British Petroleum Company Limited will be held on June 9, in London, England.

The following is an extract, from the circulated statement by the chairman, the Rt. Hon. Lord Strathalmond, C.B.K., LL.D.:

In accordance with the resolutions approved at the extraordinary general meeting of December 16, 1954, this is your company’s first annual report and accounts to appear under its new name, The British Petroleum Company Limited.

The consolidated trading profit and other income for 1954 before providing for depreciation was £75,348,941 compared with £63,883.828 for 1953. From this figure provision has been made of £30,406,091 for depreciation, the corresponding figure for 1953 being £20,056,243.

After providing for debenture interest and £19,592,977 for taxation on profits; the amount available for reserves and dividends is £23,962,764, compared with £24,382,850 for 1953.

Your directors have placed £5,550,000 to general reserve, and have recommended a final dividend on the ordinary stock of 14 per cent., making a total for the year of 15 per cent. on the capital as increased by the capitalisation last December of part of the general reserve.

Total capital expenditure during 1954 was approximately £55,000,000, including the following main items:

Refineries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £32,500,000

Tankers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £9,000,000

Oil Exploration Interests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £4,500,000

Marketing Interests . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . £8,000,000


Crude oil production in Kuwait, Iraq, and Qatar was again increased in 1954, when our offtake from those sources totalled some 36,000,000 tons, compared with 32,000,000 in 1953. As from October 29, when the agreement between Iran and the Consortium companies took effect, to the end of 1954, our liftings from Iran were 440,000 tons, about one third in crude, oil and the balance in refined products. Our current liftings from Iran are at the rate of 5,000,000 tons per annum, including 2,000,000 tons of crude oil.

In the United Kingdom, our crude oil production was 59,000 tons, compared with 54,600 tons in 1953.


Exploration operations were increased during the year in the various overseas territories in which we have interests.

In Australia, plans for our associate company to begin test drilling in the Gippsland district of Victoria are well advanced.


Our total refinery throughput in 1954, at 24,000,000 tons, was 4,000,000 tons greater than in 1953. Principal contributors to this increase were the new Aden refinery, which came into operation in July, 1954, and the Kent and Hamburg refineries. On February 1 last, our new Kwinana refinery, in Western Australia, was commissioned; that addition, together with the development of of other refining installations and interests, should achieve the figure of 30,000,000 tons which I mentioned last year as our expected total refining capacity by the end of this year.

In Great Britain, throughput in 1954 of our four refineries totalled 10,563,000 tons against 9,327,000 tons in 1953.

In referring to the refinery operations overseas, this statement continued:

In Australia, at Laverton Melbourne, refinery throughput was 164,000 tons, against 165,000 in 1953. Such good progress was made during 1954 with the construction of the new 3,000,000 ton capacity refinery at Kwinana, Western Australia that it came into operation February 1, 1955, several months ahead of schedule, a most praiseworthy achievement by all concerned.

The British Tanker Company’s fleet now consists of 148 ships, totalling 2,063,001 deadweight tons, as against 142 ships of 1,917,000 dead weight tons at this time last year.


World demand for petroleum products, excluding Russia and her satellites, increased by about 5 per cent in 1954, following the same trend as in the previous two years. This world figure would have been greater, but for the slight business recession in the United States, where the increase was limited to 2 per cent. In the eastern hemisphere, wherein lies the bulk of your company’s interests, the increase in oil consumption in a year of generally high business activity was 11 per cent, above the 1953 level, compared with increases of about 8 per cent. in each of the two preceding years. This gain in eastern hemisphere trade, representing some 18 million tons, was matched by increased output of Middle East crude oil – particularly in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The growth in refinery capacity in the eastern hemisphere last year of 24 million tons was more than adequate to cover the increased demand. About half of this increased capacity, including our new refinery at Aden, was situated east of Suez. With the commissioning of Kwinana refinery in Western Australia we have now reached the position where the output of our new refineries east of Suez, together with our share of products from Iran, has eliminated the long back haul from European refineries that was such an abnormal feature of our operations over the previous two years.

The group’s sales of crude oil and refined products in 1954 were at a record level of 41 million tons, about one million tons greater than the previous peak figure achieved in 1950, the last year in which we were fully operating in Iran. Sales in 1954 represented an increase of nearly four million tons, or 10½ per cent. over 1953.

In Australia and New Zealand our supply arrangements are now easing with the coming into commission of the additional refining capacity, east of Suez, mentioned above. Considerable further progress has been made in Australia with improving and expanding the marketing faculties of The Commonwealth Oil Refineries Limited and sales by that company during 1954 have again shown a most satisfactory increase.

I referred last year to those disquieting aspects of the price control system both in Australia and New Zealand, which failed to reflect the increasing incidence on the distributor of the higher internal costs of goods and services. In Australia, there has since been an improvement in this respect and in the States of Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania the system has been abandoned. The problem, however, still remains acute in New Zealand, where the margin allowed for motor spirit distribution is in no way compatible with the industry’s investment in the marketing services or with the increased expenses arising both from higher wage awards and the rising cost of materials. It is to be hoped that there will be a satisfactory outcome from the independent investigations which the New Zealand Government has now instituted.

Our sales of aviation spirit have continued to expand, and the B.P. Aviation Service has again been entrusted with the task of providing in whole or part for the fuelling of many of the major international air lines, the armed services, and other flight operations in the countries covered by its growing network.

The B.P. International Oil Bunkering service continues to provide an important part of world bunker supplies.

Sales of our branded lubricants show a very satisfactory increase compared with 1953, both in this country and overseas, and our largely increased production is all being disposed of through our own marketing outlets.

In the United Kingdom the continued upward trend in industrial activity was reflected in a strong demand for petroleum products in 1954. Sales of fuel oil showed a marked expansion and we are being called upon to contribute in an increasing degree to the country’s industrial energy requirements.


The work of our research and development establishments continues to maintain and enhance the company’s reputation, for products of the highest quality and performance as well as to keep the B.P. group abreast of its competitors in the continually evolving techniques of finding, producing, transporting, and refining crude oils.

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Related links:

Sir William Fraser’s Statement To AIOC Stockholders (June 1954)

Anglo-Iranian Oil Company’s Name Changed to British Petroleum Co., Ltd. (BP) | Dec. 1954

Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) | Annual Meeting: Dec. 20, 1951

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