BP is using the Net to boost efficiency, saving $300 million a year. Here's how:FINDING CRUDE: Instead of sending teams to far-off exploration targets, BP scientists now gather in any of 15 data centers around the globe to view 3-D images of drilling sites sent over the Web. Payoff: Up to $150 million in annual savings.GOING PLACES: Helicopters shuttling between Scotland and North Sea oil platforms often fly with empty seats. So BP launched heliseat.com, an online system for sharing the seats with other oil companies. Payoff: Up to $5 million in new revenues.BUYING GEAR: BP's divisions used to bid separately for everything from hard hats to drill bits. This year BP will buy 4% of its $25 billion in purchases online. Payoff: $100 million in savings this year by identifying low-cost suppliers.GETTING SMARTER: All employees have personalized Web pages listing their areas of expertise. This helps managers tap into BP's reservoir of knowledge. Payoff: In one case, engineers in the Caribbean saved $600,000 by adopting a drilling process developed in Norway just days earlier.SERVING STAFFERS: Human-resources data such as salary and pension payments have been put online. Calculating relocation benefits, for example, once took weeks. Now, it's done online in seconds. Payoff: $100 million annual savings.SELLING STUFF: BP is spending $200 million to link service stations to the Net. Web-linked gas pumps let drivers check traffic. Inside, customers can--for a fee--read e-mail and surf the Web at Net kiosks. Payoff: BP hopes this will help generate 50% of its retail sales from goods other than fuel within five years, up from 20% of $2.6 billion last year.
Data: BP, BusinessWeek