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BP PLC (BP) is one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, with operations spanning multiple continents and a history stretching over 100 years.

This article will provide background on BP, discuss what the company does, review a merger in its history, and analyze the performance of BP shares over time. Readers will come away with a deeper understanding of this energy company and its stock.

 

Overview of BP PLC

BP is an integrated oil and gas firm involved in every industry stage, from exploration to production to refining and marketing. Founded in 1909 as the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, BP has grown into a global leader in the energy sector.

Some facts about BP’s operations today:

  • BP explores oil and gas in 30 countries and has proven reserves equivalent to 17.9 billion barrels of oil. Key exploration regions include the US Gulf of Mexico, Egypt, Azerbaijan, and the North Sea.
  • The company sells fuel products and lubricants to 52,000 service stations worldwide, many of which are branded BP. This extensive retail network helps BP access consumer markets.
  • BP is also a major producer and supplier of natural gas, solar energy, wind power, and biofuels. The company is working to diversify its operations beyond traditional oil and gas.

BP is integrated across oil and gas value chains and deeply embedded in extracting, refining, and delivering hydrocarbons globally. With over 63,000 employees and operations across nearly 80 countries, BP has cemented its status as an energy supermajor.

 

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What Company Merged With BP?

In one of the largest mergers in industrial history, British Petroleum acquired the American oil firm Amoco in 1998 for $48.2 billion. This deal transformed BP into a new global giant and exemplified the massive consolidation trend sweeping across the 1990s oil industry.

The merger created a company worth over $180 billion with proven reserves of 18 billion barrels of oil equivalent. It combined BP’s strengths in Europe and Asia with Amoco’s leading position in America to become a worldwide leader in oil exploration, refining, and petrol retailing.

The deal exposed BP extensively to high-growth areas like the Gulf of Mexico and expanded its distribution network by 4,000 additional Amoco-branded petrol stations.

 

Know the difference between merger and acquisition with this article: What is an acquisition?

 

Analysis of BP Share Price

BP shares experienced significant volatility throughout 2023. After closing 2022 strong at 474.90p, the stock price rose modestly in January 2023. However, momentum built firmly into February and March, with the BP shares peaking at 570.57p – nearly 20% above year-end 2022 levels.

Multiple factors likely contributed to this bull run in the first quarter. Oil prices climbed above $100 per barrel, boosting most Big Oil companies. BP also reported full-year solid 2022 earnings in early February, beating analyst profit expectations by over 30%. The company highlighted that higher prices and new major projects drove cash flow expansion. This fundamental performance gave investors confidence to bid BP shares higher.

However, BP shares then endured a rollercoaster ride for much of the remainder of 2023. Shares pulled back nearly 10% in March as concerns over slowing global growth and potentially reduced oil demand entered the picture.

After rebounding to over 550p in late April, BP shares plunged over 20% in May and June as crude prices sank into the $80s and global equity markets broadly retreated on recession fears.

 

3D arrows in green and red going upward and downward

 

In the second half of 2023, BP shares showed some stabilization but lacked clear direction. Minor oil price recoveries and the company’s solid operating track record seemed to put a floor under the stock in a range between 450-500p. Still, continued economic uncertainty and volatility in energy markets prevented a significant upside. Momentum oscillated up and down for months, depending on the prevailing macro climate.

BP shares have settled near the middle of its 2023 trading range in recent months. As of mid-December, shares closed around 467p – nearly identical to year-ago levels.

Looking ahead, the same push and pull factors around oil prices, global growth, geopolitics, and BP’s execution should continue directing share price movement. If macro headwinds abate and BP advances its green energy plans as intended, upside potential remains. But shareholders must brace for more potential turbulence after 2023’s up-and-down swings.

 

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Factors Influencing BP Share Price

As a global energy company, BP’s share price is heavily tied to underlying oil, gas, and broader energy market trends. However, general stock market conditions and company-specific events also impact investor sentiment and BP stock volatility.

Oil and Gas Prices

The single biggest driver of BP’s share performance is the price of oil and natural gas. As a major hydrocarbon producer, processor, and distributor, BP’s revenues and earnings are directly tied to commodity price realizations. When oil and gas prices rise or fall significantly, BP’s profit outlook typically shifts in tandem. These changing financial expectations then filter quickly into share valuations.

For example, natural gas hitting 13-year highs recently lifted BP shares back near 2022 levels. For BP and other oil majors, commodity price exposure fuels the constant share volatility.

Global Energy Demand

 

A gas burner emitting an open flame

 

The actual level of worldwide energy consumption is closely related to oil and gas prices. Suppose demand flags unexpectedly from slowing economies, BP’s production and sales volumes suffer alongside final product pricing. Weakness begets further weakness.

However, alternatively, robust energy demand growth makes room for supply expansion and better profit capture. So, the pace of broader global economic factors and activity remains central for BP by driving aggregate fossil fuel requirements. Recent recession worries have weighed on BP stock partially via lower anticipated energy usage if realized.

 

See what this article has to say: How Do Commodity CFD Markets Work

General Stock Conditions

Despite dominating energy influences, general investor risk appetite and stock market trends also seep into BP’s valuation. The company’s shares reliably slide when financial markets broadly retreat into risk-off mode. Sentiment drags down quality stocks quickly during such times regardless of company outlook. And index performance similarly lifts BP stock when benchmarks like the FTSE 100 steadily rise thanks to optimistic sentiment.

So, for shareholders, monitoring oil market dynamics must be supplemented by awareness of macroeconomic conditions and general investor psychology swings that connect all global equities.

 

Bottomline

For traders and investors observing BP or other major energy stocks, fully grasping the macroeconomic factors influencing these companies’ performance is essential. Oil and gas markets exhibit constant flux, so considering global growth, geopolitics, production levels, and more is advisable before making investment decisions.

As 2023 demonstrated, even industry leaders like BP experience substantial share price swings from variable energy markets and investor sentiment. Interested traders should continue learning about the interconnected dynamics directing BP and its peers to make informed trading choices amid uncertainty.

 

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“When considering “CFDs” for trading and price predictions, remember that trading CFDs involves a significant risk and could result in capital loss. Past performance is not indicative of any future results. This information is provided for informative purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.’’

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