BP (BP), currently ranked the third largest oil company in the world behind Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), is beginning to climb back to not just its normal friendly company self with the flowery logo, but is surprisingly exceeding its goals of being seen as a company that cares about communities, the environment, and the future.
CEO Bob Dudley's 10-point plan to grow value for shareholders shows BP's simplicity drive for future growth, while maintaining and even improving the environment where the company has a footprint. In fact, the number one priority at the top of that list is, "a relentless focus on safety and managing risk." Though statements alone won't improve performance or the reputation of a business, BP lives by its new strategy. This is a company I believe every investor should own because of its leadership, its attention to details, and because it is now a force that simply cannot deviate from its path to success.
BP is done, and does not want anymore black eyes like those received in the past few years, with the Deepwater Horizon being one of the worst. BP has spent tons of money trying to clean up its image in the eyes of the public. The company has recently been trying to work with the community where all of their refineries and production facilities are located.
At a refinery in northwestern Indiana recently, the company agreed to install $400 million in new air pollution controls and pay an $8 million fine under a deal with environmental groups and the government. Air quality permit violations have been going on since 2001 and the Justice Department alleged the refinery expansion had violated the Clean Air Act. After paying the fines, putting in new air pollution filters, and funding a $3.8 billion expansion of the refinery, the project is expected to make the refinery a top processor of high-sulfur crude oil from Canadian tar sands.
BP, like other "supermajors" Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron (CVX), Total SA (TOT) and ConocoPhillips (COP) all have a super major problem of safely finding oil without spending a lot of money. As CEO Dudley pointed out at a speech in Oslo earlier this year, "A supermajor can't be super at everything," so the company continues to focus on doing the right things first.
In doing that, BP has been one busy-body, taking steps to not only clean up its reputation, but to improve its method of operations, including exploration of gas and oil, production and transportation of energy resources, and the selling of assets for increased capital for expansion use.
This year, the company has begun a seven-year transportation and storage agreement with Petroterminal de Panama (PTP) shipping crude oil bound for the US west coast via PTP's trans-Panama pipeline. According to the terms of the agreement, a total of 5.4 million barrels of oil at PTP's locations on the Caribbean and Pacific coasts of Panama are leased to BP. The company will ship an average of 100,000 barrels per day east-to-west crude oil, through the Panama pipeline.
As part of the company's efforts to sell $45 billion worth of assets, BP recently sold its Canadian natural gas liquids (NGL) business to Plains Midstream Canada ULC for a total of $1.67 billion in cash. Additionally, in an effort to concentrate more on its refining and marketing businesses, the company is selling its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) bottles and tank-filling operations in Portugal, UK, Austria, Poland, Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey, China and South Africa.
Included in the sale are LPG storage terminals, bottle-filling plants, customer lists, and operating licenses and logistics assets. This selling frenzy is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. The company also announced in its first quarter 2012 results statement that it is marketing for sale its interests in certain non-strategic assets in the Gulf of Mexico, including the Marlin, Horn Mountain, Holstein, Ram Powell and Diana Hoover fields.
In new production, BP says it is set to begin six new major upstream projects this year. Two of them, Clochas-Mavacola in Angola and Galapagos in the Gulf of Mexico, are expected to begin next quarter. Meanwhile, the company is on track for the Mad Dog Phase II project in the Gulf of Mexico to be added to the already five deepwater rigs already operational on BP-operated fields there now.
The company expects to have eight rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico before the end of the year. Staying on course with proactive environmental friendly resources, the company recently announced that it will partner with Sempra US Gas & Power to jointly develop the Auwahi Wind farm in Hawaii, making it the fifth project developed under a strategic partnership between the two companies that includes more than 1,000 megawatts (MW) of wind generating capacity.
First quarter 2012 results for BP reveal operating cash flow for the quarter was $3.4 billion, compared to $2.4 billion in the first quarter of 2011. The net cash outflow relating to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was $1.2 billion for the quarter compared to $2.8 billion a year earlier. The company reported first quarter 2012 earnings of $0.317 per share, exceeding last year's first quarter results by 12.41%, and had first quarter 2012 revenues of $94.04 billion, 0.64% above the prior year's 1st quarter results. The company had year on year revenue growth from $308.93 billion to $386.46 billion, or 25.10%, while net income improved from a loss of $3.72 billion to a gain of $25.70 billion.
Going forward, BP has lofty plans for the future. The company's plans for 2012 include starting six major upstream projects, operating eight rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, and completing all payments into the Deepwater Horizon oil spill trust. In 2013 and 2014, the company plans to increase exploration by adding up to 25 wells per year, complete its $38 billion divestment program (end of 2013), and double unit operating cash margins from new upstream projects. With BP's history of overcoming adversity and making things happen, there is no doubt the company will reach and exceed these goals.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.