BP Amoco may rebrand stations after name change

BP AMOCO is considering changing its name in the New Year and rebranding its 30,000 petrol stations around the world once the $30bn takeover of the US oil company Atlantic Richfield is complete.

The California-based corporate image consultants Landor Associates would advise BP Amoco on a new corporate identity.

Should the Arco deal go through, it will turn BP Amoco into the world's second biggest oil major and the second largest petrol retailer in the US with 18,000 stations. Insiders at the company say one option is to adopt an entirely new corporate name and logo, as Guinness and Grand Metropolitan did merged to create Diageo.

But the individual brand names are so powerful it is likely BP Amoco would want to retain them in some form. Its BP and Amoco stations in the US are branded separately and Arco is known on the West Coast as the leading price-setter.

Arco operates 1,750 stations on the West Coast and controls 90 per cent of the Californian market. Amoco is dominant in the central US with 16,300 stations and BP is concentrated in the south-east of the US.

BP Amoco remains confident the Arco deal will be approved by US anti- trust authorities, despite a recommendation by the Federal Trade Commission to block the merger because of dominance - the merged company would control 25 to 30 per cent of crude oil supplies to West Coast refineries.

Sir John Browne, chief executive of BP Amoco, will be on standby over the New Year to take personal charge should a millennium bug crisis develop. He will stay close to BP Amoco's nerve centre in Hemel Hempstead where computer operations will be monitored worldwide during the countdown to midnight on 31 December.

Hemel Hempstead, the hedadquarters of BP Amoco's shipping, insurance and air operations, and 10 other centres around the globe are linked by satellite phones should terrestrial telecom networks fail.