Harnessing its heritage of Western technical know-how, Occidental Petroleum engages in oil and gas exploration and production and makes basic chemicals, plastics, and petrochemicals. In 2013 it reported proved reserves of 3.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent, primarily from assets in the US, the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America. Subsidiary Occidental Chemical (OxyChem) produces acids, chlorine, and specialty products, and owns Oxy Vinyls, the #1 maker of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin in North America. Occidental Petroleum's midstream and marketing units gather, treat, process, transport, store, trade, and market crude oil, natural gas, NGLs, condensate, and CO2, and generate and market power.
The company is investing heavily in the US (Appalachia, California, the Mid-Continent, and the Permian Basin), the Middle East and North Africa (Bahrain, Iraq, Libya, Oman, Qatar, UAE, and Yemen), and Latin America (Bolivia and Colombia.)
In 2013 the US accounted for 66% of the company’s revenues.
Occidental operates a global oil and gas exploration and production business and a significant midstream and marketing enterprise. Significant subsidiaries include Centurion Pipeline (an oil-gathering, common carrier pipeline and storage system with 2,800 miles of pipelines extending from southeast New Mexico to Cushing, Oklahoma); Occidental Energy Marketing, (energy marketing of natural gas, natural gas liquids, power and crude oil ); and Phibro (international commodities trading).
It also controls Occidental Chemical (OxyChem), a major North America-based chemical manufacturer. Oil and gas exploration and production accounts for more than 3/4 of the company's total revenues.
Occidental’s revenues have grown steadily since 2009. In 2013 the company’s revenues increased by 6% due to improved US oil and gas realized prices and higher liquids volumes, partially offset by lower international liquids volumes and oil prices. Midstream, Marketing. and Other reflected higher earnings in the pipeline and power generation businesses and an improved marketing and trading performance. Marketing improved by $110 million as a result of capturing regional crude price differentials by using new pipelines providing access to the Gulf Coast refineries. These improvements were partially offset by lower income in the gas processing business due (in part) to plant turnarounds in its Permian Basin operations.
In 2013 the company’s net income increased by 28% due to higher revenues and a decline in operating costs (as the result of lower exploration expenses).
Occidental’s operating cash inflow increased to $12.9 billion in 2013 (compared to $11.3 billion in 2012) primarily due to lower domestic oil and gas operating costs, 3% and 29% higher US prices for oil and gas, respectively, and higher domestic oil volumes, partially offset by lower oil volumes and prices and higher operating costs in Occidental’s Middle East/North Africa operations.
Occidental is focusing on large, mature oil and gas assets with long-term growth potential.
To generate additional cash and improve its operational efficiency, in 2014 the company approved the spin-off of its California oil and gas business into an independent and separately traded company, California Resources Corporation. The companies will be separated through the distribution of 80.1% of the outstanding shares of California Resources to holders of Occidental common stock. Occidental will retain a 19.9% ownership interest in California Resources for a period of up to 18 months.
In 2013 OxyChem, and Mexichem formed a 50/50 joint venture, Ingleside Ethylene LLC, to build a 1.2-billion-pound per year capacity ethylene cracker at the OxyChem plant in Ingleside, Texas, along with pipelines and storage at Markham, Texas. As part of a long-term strategic supply relationship between the companies, essentially all of the ethylene produced from the cracker will be consumed in the manufacture of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) utilizing existing VCM capacity. VCM will be delivered to Mexichem to produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and PVC piping systems.
Growing it assets, in 2013 the company and Qatar Petroleum agreed on the Phase 5 Field Development Plan of the Idd El Shargi North Dome Field, offshore Qatar. The project will sustain oil production levels at about 100,000 barrels per day through 2019. (In 2011 Occidental also teamed up with ADNOC to develop the major Shah gas field in the UAE).