Oiling the wheels of history? The BP archive and historical research.


In October 2015 The Guardian reported that students at Warwick University have started the new term with a campaign to close the BP Archive, which is based on their campus.[1]  This is the work of the Fossil Free Warwick (a campaign run by the People and Planet group).  The campaign comes hot on the heels of the group winning a commitment from the university to disinvest in oil, gas and coal.[2]

I have a great deal of sympathy with the campaigners.  I share their belief that global warming is an existential threat to humanity and their belief that the oil giants, such as BP, constitute one of the major obstacles in tackling carbon emissions.  While I am ambivalent on divestment on the grounds it is not likely to work, my attitude to such campaigns is of “good luck with that” combined with, “isn’t there something more that we can do”.  Particularly, I would argue that the “something more” is transforming society to one based on human needs, not profit, and democratic control of our collective resources.  Since such a social transformation does not seem imminent, and I share with the campaigners the belief that there is an urgent need for as much as possible to be done now, although a free market economy with international competition might be a poor way of delivering effective policy on carbon emissions, it is what exists and the force that I would look to is that workers’ movement.[3]  I also share the campaigners’ concern about the increasing presence of the corporate world in the academic sphere which is part of a rapacious trend of increasing corporate power in the public sphere.

On the other hand, I have a professional interest in archives.  I am neither a business historian, nor do I specialise in the Middle-East, so I have never been to the BP archive nor do I ever intend to.  But I have spent weeks, if not months, in the Warwick University Modern Record Centre which is in the same building as the BP Archive.  On the whole my presumption is that the greater the access to archival material is good and can only add to our understanding of the world and thus our ability to build action to change it.  BP is unusual in the access it gives to its archives, very few companies do so.  All other things being equal (which they are, of course, not) this greater transparency would be welcomed.  If access to such corporate archives is limited, then the demand would be for greater access not closure.  As the leading business historian Professor Josephine Maltby told me, “It horrifies me that the Warwick group think it’s better to know less about global capitalism in order to oppose it.”

Thus there is a conflict.  On the one hand, there is an urgent struggle to stop the extraction and use of fossil fuels.  On the other, archival material is a valuable tool for understanding the world.  The campaigners reconcile this conflict by suggesting that the restriction of access to the archive means that it is useless, and thus there is no further problem with campaigning for its closure.  For me there is a real conflict, the need to struggle against fossil fuels (and every other evil in the world) is aided by our understanding of the world.  Archives such as BP’s, in their own small way, add to that understanding.  That access to this knowledge is in private hands is symptomatic of the way our society is organised and is one of those sources of inequality and injustice that needs addressing.

We could take the line that the struggle against fossil fuels takes precedence and thus the closure of an archive is at best irrelevant and at worst slight collateral damage for the greater good.  A second approach would be to argue for the importance of understanding and thus the archive.  This second position should not be taken naively.  The knowledge remains in the hands of BP.  The presence of this archive on a university campus is part of increasing unmediated corporate power in academia.  There may have once been a time of social-liberal capitalism (which can perhaps be dated from the 1940s to the 1970s) when universities were more detached from such immediate economic concerns, largely reliant on arms-length state funding.  They were part of a state which reflected the needs of capital as a whole.  Since the 1980s this settlement has been eroded by a neo-liberal ideology where the power of capital in general, and individual units of capital, impinge on what was previously a public sphere where its impact was indirect.  Thus, corporations directly sponsor academic research, collaborate in the creation of new research facilities and sponsor academic positions.  This puts individual corporations into a direct relationship of control over the research process.  In its own way, the BP Archive is an example of this process.

Thus, the campaigners of Fossil Free Warwick are right to point out that the BP Archive is not a straight-forward archive.  What one would normally expect is that a body of papers are given to an archive and any researcher has the right to consult all these papers without any further hindrance.  Sometimes the owners of the papers retain copyright providing the host organisation with a large degree of control (for example the widow of the poet Ted Hughes retains copyright over his papers, and when she disagreed with Jonathan Bate’s portrayal of her husband in his biography based on these papers, she denied him the right to quote or paraphrase any of Hughes’s published or unpublished works, although Bate was still able to publish Ted Hughes: An Unauthorised Life without these elements).[4]  Sometimes those who deposit material put a closure period for access (commonly, thirty years is adopted following the rules for government papers although longer periods are not unheard of- Tony Benn deposited the tapes on which his diaries were recorded, the published diaries being an edited version of these, with the stipulation that they remain closed for one hundred years).  But commonly, when an individual or organisation deposits papers they relinquish their rights over them and access is untrammelled.

Perhaps the issue can be better understood as one of academic freedom.  The private funding of research means that research is directed by a private interest and the findings are the property of the funder, to be used by them as their private property.  It runs counter to the ethos of university research being for the public good (and even this public good has always been determined, in the last instance, by state bodies that often reflect the interests of capital.  As a whole there has been a long struggle for academic freedom against this).  The campaigners argue that the BP Archive is just an insertion of a blasphemous corporate finger into the blue skies of academic thought, and particularly since this is aligned to the interests of the fossil fuel producer, it should have no place on a university campus.  Although I think the campaigners overstate their case, I don’t think that they are essentially wrong.  It highlights the problems that academics face in an environment where shortfalls in state funding lead them increasingly to seek commercial sponsorship.

So what needs to be considered is the archive and its operation.  This is a huge collection of material taking up thirteen kilometres of shelving.  The archive stretches back to the dawn of modern oil companies in 1908 when British oil exploration was tied up with British colonialism and contains all BP’s (and its antecedents) extant papers from that date until 1976.  All the material is catalogued, although BP retains the right to withhold it on grounds of personal privacy, comercial sensitivity and legal obligations to third parties.  As such this is an irreplaceable archive, there simply is nothing else like it.  The other (Anglo-Dutch) oil major, Royal Dutch Shell, has no comparable archive.  Many companies keep their archives under lock and key and many even destroy older documents.  Some have archives, housed in company premises, that they allow researchers access to (for example Barclays has an archive based in Manchester),[5] although (as far as I know) BP is unique for having its archive based in an university.

The campaigners’ case is that the operation of the archive reflects the interests of BP rather than of true openness.  This case is based on the following:

  1. That BP control the archive.
  2. That BP uses this control to restrict access to the archive.
  3. That BP vet material made available from the archive.
  4. BP retain the power to censor work produced from the archive.

Below I will assess these claims.


1. The campaigners argue that the archive is controlled by BP.

This is undoubtedly true.  These are BP’s archives and remain BP’s property.  The staff who run it are BP employees accountable to BP’s management.  The archive building was built in the early 1990s with the cost partially met by BP and the company leases the archive facility from the University.  The running and regulation of the archive is entirely in the hands of BP.  In this it not unlike many other private and corporate archives with the exception that it is on university premises.  The argument is not whether private companies should have their own archives, and open them to the public.  Rather, the issue here is whether it is right that an archive that operates in a private interest (particularly when that interest is tied up with fossil fuels) should operate under the protective mantle of a university.  The issue is thus not simply of this being a private body as such, but of the consequences of this particularly if BP uses its position to manage the flow of information.


2. That BP uses this control to restrict access to the archive.

The campaigners are clearly correct here too.  The archive states that they will not allow lawyers into the archive, and journalists will only be allowed under the supervision of their press office.  This shows something of the mindset of BP.  Even though the most recent documents available in the archive are nearly forty years old, they fear that a lawyer acting for a client might use the material in the archive as the basis for a legal case.  Similarly, they are about reputational damage that the press could do.  This also raises the question about how BP would respond to an application from a researcher from a campaigning group for access to the archive, although  I have no knowledge of anyone having attempted to do this.  The logic is that BP are willing to be open so long as it does not expose liabilities or lead to reputational damage.  The opening of the archive itself was linked to the writing of BP’s official history, which now runs to three volumes stretching to 1975.  Since the historians who wrote these histories (who were employees of BP) had access to the archive, this opened up BP to the accusation that these histories were biased or untrue.  Thus the archive was opened to allow academic researchers to independently research the period covered by these official histories.

The suspicion here is that BP are happy if quiet, unsensational academic research is done that goes no further than hardly-read PhD theses (frankly, I have not even read my own) and academic journals with a circulation of twelve (although many academics have links with campaigning groups and one or two even know how to put out press releases after training in “outreach” by the marketing departments in their universities).  Nonetheless, this creates a suspicion (but no more) that BP is open for academics whose research is largely harmless to BP, perhaps covering the design of petrol stations since 1955[6] or the construction and development of the Port of Rotterdam as an oil terminal.[7]  This is given further weight by a senior archivist being quoted at the time of the 1993 opening of the archive denying access to the archives to those who showed “evil intent” towards BP.[8]  This is a very strange statement, historians’ first duty is to the truth, and if this happens to put BP in a bad light then so be it.  The suggestion is that anyone who has a record of adopting a generally critical attitude to oil companies will not be admitted.  If an archive is open, it should be open, not selectively open to those whose views are acceptable to BP.

Of course, none of this proves anything other than that the management of BP is cautious about who it lets into its archives.  It is quite believable that BP has an intense dislike of lawyers (Gulf of Mexico $53 billion and counting) and journalists.  What is needed is some evidence that the academics allowed into use the information are not allowed a full range of material that constitutes a deliberate attempt for BP to manage its image.


3. That BP vet material from the archive.

BP are clear that they vet information released from their archive.  Three weeks’ notice has to be given of the material that is required.  If we are to believe the information that the archive puts out then this is not an onerous process, the areas that are vetted are matters of personal privacy, material that is still of commercial value to BP (geological surveys, information relating to technological innovations etc.) and legal obligations relating to third parties (e.g. government secrecy).

The question is whether the archive withholds documents that might cause BP reputational damage, where BP was involved in practices that from the standpoint of 2015 might appear of questionable morality.  Here, I have little direct evidence, and what is below is thus circumstantial.  What I do have is some hearsay, which may constitute a prima facie case, not a full and balanced assessment.  I am currently seek more evidence on this, and will update this piece if I find anything firmer

I will start with one piece of evidence presented by the campaigners that I reject.  In a talk from 2013 outlining the use of the BP archive Peter Housego, its current director, cites a case where a researcher formed an opinion on the reaction of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Corporation (a forerunner of BP) to the nationalisation of its Iranian oil assets in the early 1950s based on 1960s civil service documents.  Housego reports that after viewing BP’s archival material, the researcher formed a different conclusion.[9]  In the campaigners’ hands this becomes an indication of a Machiavellian manipulation of the archive; they believe that, “Peter Housego, the current Archive manager, has spoken openly about an initially critical academic article which resulted in ‘the writing of a very different article’ after the researcher was allowed into the Archive”[10]  It is, of course, no such thing.  This is a straight-forward case of a researcher finding more documentation that alters their conclusion and helps then get closer to the truth.  Most researchers are sharp enough to know when they are being shown only part of the story particularly when this material relates to material in other archives.

In a more telling case, Fossil Free Warwick told me of a case where a researcher was looking at how BP acted during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, the suggestion being that BP claimed compensation from the government for losses it did not in reality suffer.  The campaigners suggest that the researcher found this path to be blocked by the archive.  This researcher has not been willing to go on record with this claim and (despite my best efforts) I have not been able to find out anything further about this.  It does, however, fit a pattern of circumstantial evidence that is emerging around BP.

[I am currently carrying out a fuller literature reviews of the material that I have been able to identify that uses the archive as a source, so the comments below should be taken as provisional].

Here there appears to be a split in BP’s attitude towards its archives between the period up and until and including the Suez crisis of 1956 and the period after that.  The first period from the formation of Anglo-Persian Oil Co Ltd in 1909 includes the period of British BP’s antecedents working hand-in-hand with the imperial British state (which, after all, from 1914 was the majority shareholder in Anglo-Persian) in its relations with colonial and semi-colonial peoples.  This attitude continued to dominate after the Second World War, most notably as the Mosaddegh government in Iran nationalised the assets of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Corporation in 1951/2 and the company’s subsequent complicity in the UK and US organised coup against the elected Iranian government in 1953.  This period came to an end when the USA undermined the Anglo-French attempt to take control of the Suez Canal after Nasser’s nationalisation of this vital oil route in 1956.  Researchers involved in these periods of BP’s history tell me that they have no difficulty accessing information from this period, some of which shows the colonial mindset of the time with its racist attitudes of European superiority underpinning the exploitation of the riches found under their counties.  There is, of course, little point in BP attempting to deny this since it is reflected in a wide range of other available resources, particularly government papers available in The National Archive.

This ease of access to this material is reflected in a range of critical writing on the period to 1956 based on the BP Archive.  For example, Valerie Johnson uses the archive to show how one of BP’s predecessors blocked sharing the economic rewards of oil in Iran with the local population in the 1930s who were seen as inferior, sometimes in a racialised way.[11]  Neveen Abdelrehim, Josephine Maltby and Steven Toms’s have written a number of critical pieces on BP and Shell, for example in one they argue that during the 1953 Iranian crisis and 1956 Suez crisis they used BP’s archival material to suggest, critically, that BP was engaged in “impression management” in order to defend itself about criticism and maintain their social power and in so doing to bolster the power of Western government in the Middle East.[12]

The material available after Suez is much more limited.  James Bamberg’s official history aside, there is very little.  There are a number of articles about BP’s and Shell’s operation in the Niger Delta in the 1960s that appear to be based on one PhD thesis.[13]  [Whether the use of the BP Archive adds anything critical to our understanding of these operations will have to await a fuller of analysis of the literature which I am undertaking].  Beyond this I have found little that uses the BP Archive for politico-historical research in this period.  In his PhD thesis, Jonathan Kuiken uses the BP Archive alongside other resources, mainly government records in the National Archive to understand the changing relationship between the state and BP in the 1950s and through into the 1970s.  With the old imperial relationship between British Petroleum and the state consigned to history by Suez, BP saw its future as a global oil company in a world where having the backing of a gun-boat (at least a British one) was not useful.  BP was increasingly willing to assert its independence from the interests of the UK government, even as the oil crisis of the 1973 and the prospect of North Sea gas and oil made governments look to BP as the bearer of a brighter British future.

Kuiken’s thesis, however, does not heavily rely on the BP Archive.  Government papers from the National Archive are what drives his thesis.  The BP Archive does add some colour, for example, that the right wing Secretary of State for Energy in Wilson’s 1974 government, Eric Varley, used the threat that the left-wing in the Labour Party were pressuring the government to nationalise BP in order to win BP’s participation the creation of the British National Oil Corporation, a state run body, intended to ensure the stability of Britain’s oil supplies in the context of North Sea oil.[14]   Later, when Tony Benn had taken on the energy portfolio, BP’s records show that they pushed senior right-wing Cabinet ministers, particularly Denis Healy, to act in BP’s interest against the left-winger,[15] an outcome that they achieved (not least because Healy and the right in the Cabinet agreed with them).  A close reading of the thesis with its footnotes, however, suggests that, overall, the BP Achieve adds little to the thesis which draws on it very little.

Richard Toye has also used the archive, to construct his narrative about the development of Labour policy on oil, an issue where BP’s archives are not central although the material does clearly show BP’s position (BP was against the plans of some in the Labour Party to bring the oil industry into public ownership and control). [16]

[Again, note, that this analysis is not finished, and there may be more to add to this.

Conversely, there are a number of topics in the period c.1957 to 1976 where one might expect the BP archive to have been used (and potentially to have shown BP in a bad light): its role in the oil embargo on Rhodesia from 1965; its role in South Africa more generally;[17] its reaction to the Six-Day War of 1967 and the Yom Kippur War of 1973.  I have not been able to track down any writing on much of this period that uses material from the BP archives.  In the case of the Rhodesian oil embargo, it is notable that even James Bamberg’s official history does not reference the BP Achieve, footnoting only the Parliamentary inquiry (the Bingham Inquiry) into the breaking of the oil embargo by BP and Shell and repeating the findings of that report.[18]  There is surely a case that the historical record would be strengthened by checking BP’s and Shell’s evidence to that Inquiry and its findings against BP’s own archives.

There are a number of possible reasons for the limited amount of research based on the archive after 1956, not least that researchers may not have attempted to use the archive.  It may be that there is little in the archive to interest these researchers (which seems a little unlikely).  It may also be that when attempting to use the archive they have found that their access to the most interesting material was blocked.  This, in itself, offers little evidence one way or the other.  But talking to people involved in business history, there is an amount of hearsay that people looking at more recent events have found the archive less co-operative, but I have not been able to find any cases of this happening nor is there any noise on the internet about it.

There is one other piece of hearsay evident that adds to a general sense that the closer we approach to the present day, the more sensitive the BP archive becomes.  As outlined about, the BP Archive’s existence is bound up with the publication of its official history.  As the second volume[19] which covered the period until 1954 when Anglo-Iranian became British Petroleum was being prepared, the archive was opened making papers up until 1953 available for other researchers just before this volume was published in 1994.  The opening of the archive to 1976 was linked to the publication of the second volume in 2000.  The reason why the archive remains closed after 1976 appears to be bound up with the third volume which was being written by James Bamberg who was the BP’s in-house historian and had already written volumes 2 and 3.  Again I must emphasise again that I am repeating hearsay and rumour – Bamberg did not complete the fourth volume, has ceased to be an employee of BP and has (in his early 60s) ceased to be an active historian.  The rumour is that he felt that BP was attempting to censor his work, something he was unwilling to accept.  Bamberg himself is, apparently, unwilling to talk about the issue (possibly enforced through the terms of a severance package with BP).  This, at least, constitutes some circumstantial evidence that BP’s attitude towards their archive is not all openness and light.

This is a prima facie case, but one that BP needs to answer.  There is no hard evidence that BP does restrict access to its archive in a way that systematically skews the research based on it, but there is enough circumstantial evidence to ask BP some questions.  It is reasonable that the University of Warwick wishes to examine whether an archive they host hinders rather than furthers academic freedom and the pursuit of knowledge.


  1. BP retains the power to censor work produced from the archive.

I have found no indication that this has happened.  The power that an archive has is limited here, but where the copyright to the material is still owned by an interested party the right to quote from it (including paraphrasing it) can be denied (but once it is granted it would be difficult to withdraw it).  As with the example of Ted Hughes’s biographer Jonathan Bate quoted above, the work is usually still published, and the conclusion would still stand.  Post-research attempts to control the use of an archive are likely not only to be ineffectual but, as with Bate’s case, lead to a considerable furore.  If the archive has attempted to do this (other than on grounds of its legal obligations or personal privacy) then it would be fair to assume there would have beed an audible row about it.


What should the campaign demand?

Perhaps this circumstantial evidence is enough to lead Fossil Free Warwick to argue that this is not an open and transparent archive.  Their main target is, anyhow, BP and the campaigners might argue that as an extractor of fossil fuels and contributor to global warming the worst should be assumed about BP and its motives.

I would suggest that the evidence warrants an approach that has as its focus more openness and greater access to BP’s Archive.  While the above evidence suggests that the Fossil Free Warwick has some justice to its case (the issue of climate change aside), the evidence only raises questions, it does not answer them.  There are questions that need answering, is the archive vetted, and if so how?  Are people denied access to the archive?  Does BP attempt to censor work, including that of its own company historian?

The only way to ensure that, in future, the answers to these question are clearly negative , I would suggest, is to raise the following demands.

  1. The archives should be handed over to a third party who will manage the archives independently of BP. This is a controversial point, many archivists and the libraries and universities who fund archives believe that profitable companies should run their own archives. But there are instances of extant companies handing their archives over third parties.

The most notable example of this is Standard Chartered Bank which in 2010 handed its archive over to the London Metropolitan Archive (the LMA is not quite a public body, being owned and run by the Corporation of London).  Standard Chartered paid for three archivists to catalogue the material (a task completed in 2014) that is open to public access with a forty-five year closure with protection for personal data.  While the archive remains the property of Standard Charted Bank, no further restrictions are put on access to the material.[20]  There are problems with this, most obviously that the forty-five year close period is very long and it would be better if the material was transferred with a covenant rather than it continuing to be owned by the bank.  But this is a much clearer and open system than a company running its own archive.

That said, many companies run their own archives although not on university campuses.  Barclays Bank, as stated above, has its own archive which is open to researchers.  More commonly, archives are simply shut to the public.  Many researchers into the oil industry have requested access to Royal Dutch Shell’s archives only to be refused.  The demand should not be, therefore, that the BP Archive becomes more like those of Barclays and Shell, but more like Standard Chartered Bank.

  1. Thus the second demand is access. The demand of the campaign should be that anyone can view the archive, be they a critical academic, a lawyer acting for a potential litigant or an oil-company-hating campaigner.  The argument is that only by transparency, honesty and debate will the truth emerge.  If BP does not want to sign up to this process, then its archive is of little real use.
  2. There should be no vetting. Of course, personnel information should be closed for a reasonable period (I’d say seventy years).  Commercially sensitive data may be a catchall open to abuse and it would not be unreasonable to suggest that commercially sensitive information is another matter (and I will not consider here the virtues of another campaign, for BP to release its research on green technology from the 1980s).[21]  If BP does not want to release geographical surveys or the design specifications for some widget, then that is its right.  But there should be pressure on BP not to withhold information that would put the company in a bad light, while selectively releasing information that creates a one-sided view.
  3. There should be a shorter closure period. I do not support the thirty year close rule on government papers.  The US system where a case has to be made for withholding any government documentation is by far preferable.  But given thirty years is the de jure situation with official documentations, it would be reasonable that powerful private interests, at the very least, fall into line with this.  The obvious cut off point would be, for the time being, 1987 when the Conservatives privatised the state’s holding in BP.  It should not be forgotten that up to 1979 the British state (and thus, in some sense, the population of the UK) was the majority shareholder of BP, and continued as a major shareholder after that.  We have (in as far as “we” are British citizens) the right to know what BP was doing with our capital.

Ultimately, of course, these positive demands imply a negative sanction.  If BP does not open up its archive and instead continues to restrict access, it is reasonable to demand that the University of Warwick asks BP to remove its archive from the university campus.  But this should be done in a way that emphasises our right to know what powerful economic interests have done, even if this is a long historical time-frame.


[1] Terry Macalister ,”Warwick University students call for closure of BP archive on campus”, The Guardian (print edition) 5th October, 2015 [online, 4th October, http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/oct/04/warwick-university-bp-archive-students-chancellor ]

[2] http://www.fossilfreewarwick.org/divestment.php; Emma Howard, “University of Warwick divests from fossil fuels”, The Guardian [Online], 8th July 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/08/university-of-warwick-divests-from-fossil-fuels

[3] See Paul Hampton’s book Workers and Trade Unions for Climate Solidarity: Tackling climate change in a neoliberal world (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015

[4] John Sutherland “Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life, by Jonathan Bate”, The Financial Time 4th October 2015.

[5] https://www.home.barclays/about-barclays/history/barclays-group-archive.html

[6] http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/bparchive/about

[7] Marten Boon  Pipelines, Politics and International Business: The Rotterdam Oil Port, Royal Dutch Shell and the German Hinterland, 1945-1975 (Rotterdam: Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication)  http://repub.eur.nl/pub/77391/

[8] Fitzgerald, Ian, “Oil Wells that ends well”, History Today, November 1, 1993.

[9] Peter Housego (2013), “BP Archive: Twenty Years of Making Records Available to External Researchers” , 2013 [ http://eogan.blog.com/files/2013/07/Twenty-Years-of-Being-Open-to-External-ResearchersV4.pdf (accessed 13/10/15)]

[10] http://www.fossilfreewarwick.org/bp.php [acessed 13/10/15]

[11] Valerie Johnson, “Sowing The Seeds Of Nationalism: Empire, Culture And British Business”, XIV International Economic History Congress, Session 94 Foreign Companies and Economic Nationalism in the Developing World after World War II [ http://www.helsinki.fi/iehc2006/papers3/Johnson94.pdf ]

[12] Abdelrehim, Neveen; Maltby.Josephine; Toms, Steven, “Narrative reporting and crises:

British Petroleum and Shell, 1950–1958”, Accounting History, 2015, Vol. 20(2) 138–157.

[13] Samuel Adejide “Oil and the Ijaw people of the Delta States 1956-1998”, University of Johannesburg PhD thesis, 2011. [https://ujdigispace.uj.ac.za/bitstream/handle/10210/12505/Abejide%20ST%20PhD%202014.pdf]

[14]  Jonathon Kuiken, Empires of Energy: Britain, British Petroleum, Shell and the Remaking of

the International Oil Industry, 1957-1979, Boston College University PhD Thesis, p468-469. [https://dlib.bc.edu/islandora/object/bc-ir:104079/datastream/PDF/download/citation.pdf]

[15] Ibid, p475

[16] Toye, Richard, “The New Commanding Height: Labour Party Policy on North Sea Oil and Gas, 1964-74”, Contemporary British History, 16:1, 89-118.

[17] I have not been able to identify any work on the oil embargo that uses the BP Archive.  I have looked at a number of articles etc, and none reference BPA.  These are:

Richrad Coggins, “Wilson and Rhodesia: UDI and British Policy Towards Africa”, Contemporary British History 20, 3 (2006): 363–

AS Mlambo, “‘We have Blood Relations over the Border’: South Africa and Rhodesian Sanctions, 1965–1975″, African Historical Review 40, no. 1 (January 2008): 1–29;

Andrew Cohen, “Lonrho and Oil Sanctions Against Rhodesia in the 1960s”, Journal of Southern African Studies 37, no. 4 (December 2011);

David M. Rowe, Manipulating the Market: Understanding Economic Sanctions, Institutional Change and the Political Unity of White Rhodesia (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2001).

[18] But this awaits more detailed analysis.  James Bamberg, British Petroleum and Global Oil, 1950-1975 : The Challenge of Nationalism (Cambs.; CUP, 2000), p257 and p257(n19)

[19] Bamberg, The History of the British Petroleum Company.

[20] https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/london-metropolitan-archives/the-collections/Pages/standard-chartered-bank-2014.aspx#

[21] Tony McAlister, “BP dropped green energy projects worth billions to focus on fossil fuels”, The Guradian (online) 16/4/2015.  [http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/16/bp-dropped-green-energy-projects-worth-billions-to-focus-on-fossil-fuels (accessed 25/10/2015)]image002