BGP – A Fast-Growing Company

BGP Inc., China National Petroleum Corporation is one of the world’s leading geophysical service companies and undertakes more land-based geophysical surveys worldwide than any other company in the industry. We talk to Mr. Zheng Huasheng, Vice President of BGP, about the growth and aims of this exciting organization.
This article appeared in Vol. 10, No. 4 - 2013


Zheng Huasheng is an accountant with a BSc from Henan Finance Institute and an MBA from the University of Calgary. He has worked for BGP since 1994 in a variety of financial and managerial roles both in China and internationally. Source: BGP

What is the history of the company?

BGP started in 1961 with 15 crews and soon became the largest geophysical services company in China focused on land acquisition, building the first data processing center in China in 1973. The company is state-owned, but is an independent legal entity.

We started working with major international companies like ESSO, AGIP and BP in the early 1990s. We learnt a lot from them and eventually began to move out of China, being awarded our first international contract in Ecuador in 1994. Over the past 20 years, BGP has been developing very fast and now is the largest land geophysical service contractor and has provided its services to more than 200 oil and gas companies. By working with these companies, and with more recent developments such as INOVA, our joint venture with ION Geophysical, we have built up our expertise and confidence so we can now work very successfully across countries and across cultures.

What prompted this move abroad?

By the 1990s China’s new ‘open door’ policy meant that international companies were vying with existing Chinese companies, so there was overcapacity in the seismic market in China. We felt it was time to expand abroad.

What countries are BGP working in?

All over the world! Since moving into the international field we developed very fast and we are now in 51 countries worldwide, including Africa, the Middle East, South America, and Central and South East Asia, and we have offices in Houston and London. At the moment, we have 65 land crews and six seismic vessels operating in more than 40 countries overseas. We offer the full range of geophysical services, from seismic acquisition onshore and offshore and a wide range of processing techniques, to interpretation supported by powerful software packages, as well as the IT capability required to deliver these services.

We have undertaken projects for many different international companies, including NOCs like Saudi Aramco, Petroleum Development Oman and National Iranian Oil Company, and for majors like Shell, ENI and ExxonMobil. BGP has deep roots in China, but now more than 70% of our clients are from outside the country.

How many people work for the company ?

I think over 20,000 people are employed directly by BGP, but many more work indirectly, as we prefer to use local people as much as possible in our overseas operations. The BGP management has always believed that it is important to employ good local staff wherever possible, so we try to attract talented people worldwide. This is particularly true for the younger generation.

Over the past two decades we have established a massive training program, not just for the mid- to upper-level employees as tended to happen in the past, but throughout the company. We have also focused on our non-Chinese employees, as we are now a major international company. We have many training centers, including seven outside China, as we believe it is important to attract talented people worldwide.

What do the initials BGP stand for?

Bureau of Geophysical Prospecting.

What next for BGP?

We are very strong on land, so our long-term strategy is to increase our capability in the offshore and transition zone, as well as in services such as reservoir engineering. We are focusing strongly on technology and are undertaking a lot of R&D projects, with the aim of providing the best possible service to the industry.

What is special about BGP?

BGP has a unique culture; it is very stable, with 80% of the employees working for the company for their whole life. I have enjoyed growing with this company and watching it grow in turn to become so successful; it is great to be part of that. I have full confidence in BGP going forward. 

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