Why BP?

The key facts about top graduate employer BP plus insights from a senior figure at the organisation

BP key facts

BP in a sentence: A major global oil and gas producer, refiner and marketer, petrochemicals manufacturer and trader of oil, gas and related commodities and financial products.

Industry: Oil and gas

Type of organisation: Public limited company

Headquarters: London, UK

Number of employees: 50,000 - 100,000

Opportunities for graduates in business and finance: Graduate schemes in science and technology, accounting; analytics; finance, risk and compliance; HR; operations; and trading.

Number of graduates taken on every year in the UK: 150-200 in total, 20-30 in business and finance roles

Typical UK graduate salary: Very competitive

Introducing BP

Carol Howle, Head of Supply & Trading, Global Oil Europe answers some key questions about the organisation

How would you introduce BP?

BP is one of the world's largest oil and gas companies. We're involved in all aspects of the oil and gas chain - from exploring and producing to refining, shipping, and trading.

So we employ geologists and engineers, but also people working in business and finance roles. There's a huge diversity of opportunities within the company.

Can you tell us about BP's history?

The business started in 1908 with an oil discovery in what was then Persia at a time when oil exploration and production posed some very difficult challenges. We overcame these, and we like to think that we've always had an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit and that these beginnings set the scene for our future development.

We've carried on testing new technology and working at the forefront of innovation.

What are the main areas of BP's business today?

Our business today has several main areas:

  • Upstream: exploration and production.
  • Downstream: refining and marketing our products.
  • Shipping: transporting oil, gas and refined products around the world.
  • Integrated Supply and Trading (IST): managing and optimising the very complex supply chains between BP and our customers, suppliers and other trading partners.

I work in IST, which is where many of our business and finance-related graduate roles are found. IST is one of the largest physical traders of oil and gas in the world and we also trade power, chemicals, carbon emissions, currencies and manage debt. We exist to work alongside the other segments to enhance BP's value by making the most of our global infrastructure.

IST has access to a huge array of BP's own assets - including pipelines, refineries, ships, tankers, retail systems and trading systems. We also work with third parties, including investment banks, hedge funds, and commodities exchanges, and we're involved in some very dynamic markets.

What makes BP stand out as a business and finance graduate employer?

First, our global footprint - we have a physical presence in 80 countries and trade in considerably more.

Second, the fact that you get an understanding of the physical flows of products that underpin our business as well as of its financial structure. Our work is always ultimately linked to real, tangible movements of oil products or gas that we have to transport from one area to another, which gives the work an added degree of interest and challenge.

Third, the diversity of business and finance-related opportunities and challenges that we're able to offer. You could be working with our upstream business on how to market new oil production that's coming onstream, with our treasury trading group on optimising our foreign exchange trading flows, or with our global structured products team on risk management financial structures for customers, such as airlines wanting some certainty on the fuel prices they'll pay in the future.

Why did you choose to work for BP and what keeps you there?

I've been with BP for 14 years now, after starting my career with a different oil and gas company. What I really enjoy about BP and IST is that we want to succeed, but we also want to make sure that we're the world's most respected energy supplier and trader.

That means that we all work very hard in a busy environment, but when we're participating in tenders or negotiating contracts we're always very upfront about exactly how much value and what kind of value we can generate. So for us it's about economics, but also ethics.

Can you tell us something surprising about BP?

Despite BP's size, entrepreneurialism is a part of all of our business and finance roles. For example, those in our origination teams go out and generate new business. They might be finding new markets and customers for us in West Africa, or speaking to small exploration and production companies operating in the North Sea that could provide us with small quantities of a niche grade of oil.

Whatever your role, there's room here for you to generate your own business ideas and, if they make sense to us from an economic, compliance and risk perspective, we'll implement them.

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