May 11th, 2010
01:20 PM GMT
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London, England - No matter who you think should be blamed for the spill in the Gulf, there is no point commentators making the point that the "B" comes from the word "British."

“The British Petroleum Company” was the official name of the oil giant from 1954 (born years before from the purchase by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company of the subsidiary called "British Petroleum" of a German oil company) until 1998.

But its focus after it was founded in 1909 was Persia (Iran) and Libya, before it lost both operations during the 1970s (nationalization.)

"BP" was just one brand in the portfolio for decades.

While the UK government owned a stake, and it has been listed on the London Stock Exchange, selling fuel to British consumers was only a part of its business.

It then became a big exploration player off the coast of Scotland and in Alaska.

BP transformed into a big American company with the purchase of SOHIO in 1987 (Standard Oil of Ohio,) its 1998 merger with AMOCO (once John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil of Indiana) and then its purchase of ARCO (once Atlantic Petroleum Company and then Atlantic Richfield Company.)

The company was known as BP AMOCO until 2000, when it was finally shortened to just plain old BP.

To me, it’s just like Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing is just 3M and International Business Machines is just IBM and parts of the old American Telephone and Telegraph is just AT&T. The old British Aerospace (BAE Systems) is so big in the USA defense industry now that using the "British" would be nonsense.

Sure, BP will have to think long and hard about its recent branding campaign to say BP means "Beyond Petroleum" (it also once said it stood for "better people, better products and big picture.")  Some blogs are now suggesting of course “Big Polluter.”

It is an oil and gas giant and certainly, has not moved beyond petroleum, so it should not shy away from calling itself an energy firm.

But it has also moved well beyond its tenuous British roots.

Or it could call itself “British Anglo-Persia Standard Castrol Atlantic Petroleum,” or BAPSCAP.

Any other suggestions?

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