By the 1960s the technology of oil exploration had improved considerably. The company had looked for oil in the UK for nearly 50 years without a single large discovery.
In 1962, Scottish Oils ceased oil-shale operations. In 1965, it was the first company to strike oil in the North Sea. In 1969, BP entered the United States by acquiring the East Coast refining and marketing assets of Sinclair Oil Corporation. The Canadian holding company of British Petroleum was renamed BP Canada in 1969; and in 1971, it acquired 97.8% stake of Supertest Petroleum.
1963 BP was involved in a joint venture, Border Chemicals, with Distillers Co and ICI.
1964 The United Nations extended countries’ rights over territorial waters.
1964 Opened refinery on the Isle of Grain in Kent.
1965 BP found natural gas in the English Channel, enough to power a medium-sized city.
1967 A new subsidiary company, BP Chemicals, was established to hold all of BP's chemical and plastics interests and the chemicals businesses acquired from Distillers Co.
British Petroleum had developed a reputation for taking on the riskiest ventures. It earned the company massive profits; it also earned them the worst safety record in the industry.
In 1967, the giant oil tanker Torrey Canyon foundered off the English coast. Over 32 million gallons of crude oil was spilled into the Atlantic and onto the beaches of Cornwall and Brittany, causing Britain's worst-ever oil spill.The ship was owned by the Bahamas-based Barracuda Tanker Corporation and was flying the flag of Liberia, a well-known flag of convenience, but was being chartered by British Petroleum. The ship was bombed by RAF jet bombers in an effort to break up the ship and burn off the leaking oil, but this failed to destroy the oil slick.
1968 A massive find awaited in Alaska - after a decade of drilling dry wells along the North Slope, BPwas on the verge of abandoning its search when the discovery was made.