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BP Shipping

BP Shipping is the maritime arm of British headquartered global oil company, BP. The unit covers the marine transport, logistics and insurance requirements of all BP's global activities.

Formed in 1956 as BP Tanker Company Ltd, its roots go back to the British Tanker Company Ltd, which was formed to carry products for the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. It is hence the oldest continuous business unit in the BP group. The company changed its name to BP Shipping in 1981 to encompass its marine insurance activities, and in 2006 transported 251.7 million tonnes of crude and products, representing around 5% of the world's sea borne oil movements


  • Origins 1
    • British Tanker Company 1.1
    • BP Tanker Company 1.2
  • Operations 2
  • Fleet 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


British Tanker Company

British Emperor, launched in 1916

Having initially employed independent contractors to carry its oil from Persia (now Iran) back to Europe and into India, in April 1915 the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) set up the British Tanker Company Limited (BTC) in April 1915, with an initial capital of £100,000. The BTC placed orders with two Tyne based shipbuilders, Armstrong Whitworth and Swan Hunter, for a total of 7 steam-powered oil tankers.

The BTC's first tanker was the 3,663 gross tonnage British Emperor, launched in 1916. The names of all the first 7 ships bore the prefix "British", and all future additions to the fleet have followed the same naming convention. The 60th ship was the new flagship, the 6,998 gross tonnage British Aviator, BTC's first diesel engined oil tanker, and was at that time the most powerful single-screw motor ship in the world.

Through steadying of relationships with the Shah of Iran, APOC managed to strengthen its position within the industry during the Great Depression. With the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, the British government chartered the BTC's whole fleet of 93 vessels, to transport fuel for its armed forces. The fleet lost 41 ships sunk during the war, with 2 others so badly damaged they could only be used as storage hulks.

BP Tanker Company

In November 1954, APOC renamed itself the British Petroleum Company, and in 1955 the BTC became the BP Tanker Company (BPTC). By the end of the 1950s, the BPTC's fleet stood at 146 vessels, including supertankers of 38,000 gross tonnage (67,000 deadweight tonnes), with plans to build tankers of 60,000 gross tonnage (100,000 deadweight tonnes), which would hold more than 25 million US gallons (95,000 m3) of crude oil. In 1981 the company was renamed BP Shipping Ltd to reflect its changing role in managing the tanker fleet.


Today, while BP Shipping remains responsible within the group for all water-born logistics, much of its fleet capacity is gained through hiring other operators vessels. The result is that it is also responsible for marine assurance on everything that is sited within or floats on water.[1]

Employing 2,800 people based mainly in London, Singapore and Chicago, at the end of 2006 BP Shipping managed:[1]

  • 57 vessels - four Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs), one North Sea shuttle tanker, 42 medium size crude and product carriers, seven liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers and three new liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers
  • Manage 24 regional vessels, including coasters
  • 100 hydrocarbon-carrying vessels above 600 deadweight tonnes on time charter

Resulting in:[1]

  • The shipping of 270 million tonnes of cargo volume
  • 7,000 voyages, of which at any time 450-500 cargoes are “on the water”
  • On average two thirds of shipments are made by seagoing tankers, the rest via inland and harbour barges

The marine insurance activity covers 800-900 miscellaneous craft such as tugs, crew boats, barges and seismic vessels used in support of BP group business around the world. All are vetted, with policy being that BP Shipping considers a vessel to be unacceptable unless positively identified otherwise. Of the 4,700 inspections in 2006, half resulted in an initial rejection.[1]

Other marine holdings include:[1]

  • BP Shipcare Sdn. Bhd. - a lay-up facility located in East Malaysia
  • Alaska Tanker Company - minority shareholding in five purpose-built ships to transport crude oil from Alaska to west coast US ports in the US
  • China LNG Shipping - 40% shareholding in ship management service to LNG carriers serving the Guangdong LNG terminal


Class Builder Type Ships in Class Flag Port of Registry Year Entered Service Year of Retirement Fate
P Class Samsung Heavy Industries Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC) British Pride
British Progress
British Purpose
 United Kingdom Douglas, Isle of Man 2000
Tree Class Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co. Aframax British Beech
British Hazel
British Holly
British Vine
 United Kingdom Douglas, Isle of Man 2003
Bird Class Samsung Heavy Industries Aframax British Cormorant
British Curlew
British Gannet
British Mallard
British Merlin
British Osprey
British Swift
British Falcon
British Robin
British Eagle
British Cygnet
British Kestrel
 United Kingdom Douglas, Isle of Man 2005
E Class Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Medium Range Products Tanker British Esteem
British Explorer
British Emissary
British Envoy
British Ensign
 United Kingdom London, United Kingdom;
Douglas, Isle of Man
Virtue Class Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Large Range Product Tanker British Chivalry
British Courtesy
British Harmony
British Integrity
British Liberty
British Loyalty
British Security
British Serenity
British Tenacity
British Unity
British Tranquility
British Fidelity
 United Kingdom Douglas, Isle of Man 2005
C Class Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Carrier British Commerce
British Councillor
British Courage
 United Kingdom Douglas, Isle of Man 2006
Trader Class Samsung Heavy Industries LNG carrier British Trader
British Innovator
British Merchant
 United Kingdom Douglas, Isle of Man 2002
Active. First Spot-market LNG carriers.
Gem Class Hyundai Heavy Industries LNG carrier British Diamond
British Emerald
British Ruby
British Sapphire
 United Kingdom Douglas, Isle of Man 2008
Active. First Dual-Fuel Diesel-Electric (DFDE) LNG carriers.
Kawasaki Heavy Industries LNG carrier Northwest Shearwater  Bermuda Hamilton, Bermuda 1991 Active. Operated vessel for North West Shelf Venture.
Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Shuttle Tanker (DP2) Loch Rannoch  United Kingdom Lerwick, Shetland 1998

As of Sept 2013, the Loch Rannoch was handed back to its owners, Knutsen OAS.

Barge Breko Nieuwbouw B.V. Lubricating Oil Vanora
 Netherlands Rotterdam, Netherlands 2006
Active. Operated by Verenigde Tankrederij B.V.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e "BP Shipping". BP Group. Archived from the original on 22 July 2010. Retrieved July 24, 2010. 

External links

  • BP Shipping
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