Britoil

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Britoil plc
PLC
IndustryOil
Founded1975; 45 years ago (1975)
Defunct1988 (1988)
HeadquartersGlasgow, Scotland, UK
Key people

Britoil plc was originally a privatised British oil company operating in the North Sea. It was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.

History[edit]

The company was originally formed in 1975 as the British National Oil Corporation (BNOC), a nationalised body, under the provisions of the Petroleum & Submarine Pipe-lines Act 1975.[1] Its objective was to maintain adequate oil supply levels.[2]

Britoil's interest in UK oil and gas fields in 1982 was as follows.[3]

Britoil interest in UK oil and gas fields in 1982
Field Britoil interest per cent
Thistle 18.93
Dunlin 9.77
Ninian 20.73
Statfjord 5.30
Murchison 27.92
Beatrice 28.00
South Brae 30.00
Hutton 20.00
Clyde 51.00
Viking (gas) 50.00


As a result of the Oil and Gas (Enterprise) Act 1982, BNOC was split to enable the trading sector of the company BNOC to remain nationalised whilst the oil exploration and production sector, Britoil, was a limited liability company.[4]

In November 1982, 51% of Governmental shares in Britoil were sold off, however was substantially under-subscribed. The resultant losses were carried by underwriters. The remaining Government minority shareholding in Britoil was sold in November 1985 for £434 million, ensuring it kept a ‘Golden Share’ in order to veto any outsourcing attempts.[4] The collapse in world oil prices globally, combined with the possession of Britoil’s majority share by BP meant that the golden share was sold to British Petroleum [5] in 1988.[6]


Britoil’s Production entitlement and financial summary was as follows:[3][7]

Year Production entitlement Turnover, £ million Profit (loss) before tax, £ million Profit (loss) after tax, £ million
Oil, 1000 bbl/d Gas, million cubic feet/day
1977 311 28 (43) (31)
1978 10 257 54 (35) (26)
1979 64 215 267 69 33
1980 85 229 506 256 67
1981 117 164 832 435 73
1982 1088 660 103
1983 1252 586 143
1984 1549 688 169
1985 (6 months) 968 365 91


In the same year, the company had been subject of an attempted £23 million fraud by one of its own cashiers.[8]

Key people[edit]

Chairman and Chief Executive: Baron Kearton (Christopher Frank Kearton) (1975–79), Ronald Utiger (1979–1980), Sir Philip Shelbourne (July 1980–1988),[9] Sir Robin Duthie (1988–90).

After the splitting off of Britoil Lord Croham,[9] the deputy chairman of BNOC, became chairman of BNOC’s trading activities (1982–85).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ World National Oil Company Statutes[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ BNOC fades out
  3. ^ a b "Britoil plc offer for sale". The Times. 12 November 1982.
  4. ^ a b "House of Commons Privatisation Research Paper" (PDF). 2014.
  5. ^ Parker, David (1997). The Impact of Privatisation: Ownership and Corporate Performance in the UK. Psychology Press. ISBN 0415142334.
  6. ^ British Government to Yield Its 'Golden Share' of Britoil
  7. ^ "Britoil plc offer for sale". The Times. 1 August 1985.
  8. ^ "Cashier admits £23m fraud bid at Britoil". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  9. ^ a b "Britoil chairman named". The Times. 29 June 1982. p. 15.

External links[edit]