Our Journey - The Bharat Petroleum Story


Discover the rich history of Bharat Petroleum, India’s ‘best performing’ Maharatna Public Sector Undertaking, and its journey from being an Oil and Gas Company in India to a Fortune 500 oil refining, exploration and marketing conglomerate.


When Oil discoveries were being made and industries expanded, John D. Rockefeller and his business associates acquired control over numerous refineries and pipelines. With these acquisitions under their belt, they went on to form the Standard Oil Trust – a giant in its own right.


Observing this and to counter the growing significance of Standard Oil, three largest rivals - Royal Dutch, Shell and Rothschild’s - came together to form a single organisation called Asiatic Petroleum to market petroleum products in South Asia.


In 1928, Asiatic Petroleum (India) joined hands with the Burmah Oil Company, an active producer, refiner and distributor of petroleum products, particularly in Indian and Burmese markets to form the Burmah-Shell Oil Storage and Distributing Company of India Limited.


A pioneering approach

Burmah Shell began its operations with the import and marketing of Kerosene and soon proved itself to be a pioneer in more ways than one. The company imported oil products in bulk and transported them in 4-gallon and 1-gallon tins all over India.

The company also took up the challenge of reaching out to people in remote villages to ensure every home was supplied with kerosene. Thus, the development and promotion of efficient kerosene-burning appliances for lighting and cooking became an important part of its kerosene selling activity.

Showcasing its pioneering spirit, the company introduced LPG as a cooking fuel to Indian homes in the mid-1950s. Thus started the illustrious journey of many pioneering endeavours, which went beyond selling petroleum, educating customers and offering better services and products.

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The Retail Revolution

The first drive-through fuel station in India was built in 1928. From then, our pan country network of Fuel Station has crossed more than 20,000 mark, with approximately 1 Crore vehicles fueling up every day. Bharat Petroleum also launched several iconic initiatives, such as, Pure for Sure, Premium Petrol & Diesel, Urban and Transport Loyalty Programme, Convenience Store In & Out, etc;. to transform the face of fuel retailing in India.

Post war, Burmah Shell established efficient and up-to-date fuel service and filling stations to give its customers the highest possible standard of service facilities.

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From the ground to the sky

As far as the story of aviation fuel in India goes, Burmah Shell, the erstwhile identity of BPCL began with bullock carts for transporting aviation fuel sometime during the early 20th century and the fag end of the century saw the commissioning of most modern hydrants. Our Aviation history have seen one milestone leading to the other, carved and etched with the glory of bygone era. Enjoy as you fly through the times.

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The Birth of a Titan

On 24th January 1976, a new era dawned, as a 100% public sector enterprise, Bharat Refineries Limited, acquired complete ownership of Burmah Shell’s interests in India, including the largest refinery and a nationwide marketing organization. , Bharat Refineries Limited was later named as Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited.

An advertisement released by Bharat Refineries Limited, in newspapers on 24th January 1976, offered the nation its first greetings in a new spirit of dedication.

In the picture, Mr K D Malaviya, Hon’ble Union Minister for Petroleum inaugurating the event.


Bharat Petroleum selects new logo on 18th November 1977

Those golden drops of Oil - this is what is commonly seen as Bharat Petroleum’s logo. However, the genesis of this unique symbol takes us back several centuries to the ancient Chinese Civilisation, where a similar design represented the elemental forces of Heaven Man and Earth.

In the Chinese view, all manifestations of the TAO are generated by the dynamic interplay of two polar forces - YIN and YANG. The idea is old and many generations worked on the symbols of the archetypal pair YIN and YANG meaning SHADE and SUN of the shady and sunny sides of the mountain - till these concepts became fundamental to Chinese thought.

The TAO, therefore, means - that which lets now the dark, will now let the light appear – signifying a continuous process. These two opposite poles of nature, representing light and dark, also represent Male and Female, Firm and Yielding, Above and Below.

Yang symbolizes all that is light, strong, male, firm, creativity and heaven, while Yin means the dark, receptive, female and earth. Heaven is above and full of movement while the Earth in the old geocentric view is below and resting - thus Yang stands for Movement and Yin, Rest.

In the realm of thought, Yin is complex (the female intuitive mind) while the Yang is rational (male intellect). While Yin is the quiet, contemplative state of the Sage, Yang is the strong creative action of the King. The dynamic character of YIN and YANG is illustrated by the ancient Chinese symbol called Tai-chi T'u or 'Diagram of the Supreme Ultimate'. The diagram shows the dark Yin and light Yang but the symmetry is not static. It is a rotational symmetry suggesting very forcefully, a continuous cyclic movement.