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 2015 it reported proved reserves of 2.2 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 2015 the US accounted for 60% of the company’s revenues, followed by Oman (13%), Qatar (12%), Colombia (5%), and UAE (4%).
OxyChem owns and operates 23 manufacturing plants in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas, and at two international sites in Canada and Chile.
Occidental’s principal businesses consist of three segments.
The oil and gas segment explores for, develop,s and produces oil and condensate, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and natural gas. The chemical segment (OxyChem) makes and markets basic chemicals and vinyls. The midstream, marketing, and other segment (midstream and marketing) gathers, processes, transports, stores, purchases. and markets oil, condensate, NGLs, natural gas, carbon dioxide (CO2) and power. It also trades around its assets, including transportation and storage capacity, and trades oil, NGLs, gas and power. Additionally, the midstream and marketing segment invests in entities that conduct similar activities.
Significant subsidiaries include Centurion Pipeline (an oil-gathering, common carrier pipeline and storage system with 2,900 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 controls Occidental Chemical (OxyChem), a major North America-based chemical manufacturer.
Oil and gas exploration and production accounted for 63% of the company's total revenues in 2015; chemicals, 30%; and midstream and marketing, 7%.
Sales and Marketing
From time to time, Occidental purchases oil, NGLs, power, steam and chemicals from (and sells oil, NGLs, gas, chemicals and power) to certain of its equity investees and other related parties at market-related prices.
In 2015, Occidental's net revenues decreased by 42%
Lower revenues from oil and gas segment reflected significantly lower crude oil, NGL and natural gas prices, partially offset by higher crude oil production volumes and lower operating costs from lower workover and maintenance costs
Chemical segment revenues decreased due to lower caustic soda pricing and lower sales volumes across most products, offset by improved PVC margins resulting primarily from lower energy and ethylene costs.
Midstream and marketing segment earnings decreased, reflecting lower marketing margins due to the narrowing of the Midland to Gulf Coast differentials, lower domestic gas processing income due to a drop in both NGL prices and lpipeline income as a result of lower Dolphin Pipeline gas sales and the decrease in Occidental's interest in Plains Pipeline.
In 2015 Occidental's net loss was $7.83 billion, a drop of $8.4 billion compared to net income in 2014. This decrease was due to decrease in net sales and an increase in asset impairments related to domestic oil and gas assets due to Occidental’s exit from the Williston and Piceance basins as well as the decline in the futures price curve and decision not to pursue activities associated with some of its non-producing acreage.
That year the company's cash from operating activities decreased by 70%.
Occidental aims to maximize total returns to stockholders by increasing oil and gas production through development programs focused on large, long-lived conventional and unconventional oil and gas assets with long-term growth potential, and acquisitions.
The oil and gas business implements Occidental's strategy primarily by operating and developing areas where reserves are known to exist and to increase production in core areas, primarily in the Permian Basin and parts of the Middle East; use enhanced oil recovery techniques, such as CO2, water and steam floods, in mature fields; focus a sizable portion of Occidental's drilling activities on unconventional opportunities, primarily in the Permian Basin; and maintain a disciplined approach towards US acquisitions and divestitures and the execution of international contracts.
The primary objective of OxyChem is to generate cash flow in excess of its normal capital expenditure requirements and achieve above-cost-of-capital returns. The chemical segment's strategy is to be a low-cost producer in order to maximize its cash flow generation.
In 2015 Occidental expected delivered 10% increased annual production growth driven by its Permian Resources operations and the startup of the Al Hosn Gas Project, a joint venture with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) that began operating in January 2015.
Occidental’s strategy relies on increasing production through developing conventional and unconventional fields, utilizing primary and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques and strategic acquisitions in areas where Occidental has a competitive advantage as a result of its current successful operations or investments in shared infrastructure.
The company’s next priority is growing and strengthening the business. Decisions in include increasing drilling, making acquisitions, repurchasing shares and reducing debt.
In 2016, Occidental completed the sale of its Occidental Tower building in Dallas, Texas for $85 million.
In 2015 Occidental sold its Williston Basin assets in North Dakota for approximately $590 million and entered into an agreement to sell its Piceance Basin assets in Colorado for approximately $155 million., which is expected to close March 2016. They also Minimized or ceased its involvement in non-core operations in the Middle East and North Africa, including Bahrain, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.
To raise cash to pay down debt, in 2014 Occidental sold its interest in BridgeTex Pipeline while retaining access to US Gulf markets through the pipeline, resulting in a $633 million pre-tax gain. Simultaneously with the sale of Occidental's interest in the BridgeTex Pipeline, Occidental completed the sale of a portion of its investment in Plains Pipeline, resulting in a $1.4 billion pre-tax gain. It also sold its Hugoton Field assets to an undisclosed buyer for pre-tax proceeds of $1.4 billion.
To generate additional cash and improve its operational efficiency, in 2014 the company spun-off of its California oil and gas business into an independent and separately traded company, California Resources Corporation. Occidental retained a 19.9% ownership interest in California Resources for up to 18 months.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2014 Occidental spent $1.3 billion on an acquisition in the Permian Basin totaling 100,000 net acres.