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Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) is an international oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in the United States, the Middle East, North Africa, and South America. The company nickname “Oxy” began in 1964 in reference to Occidental’s NYSE stock ticker. Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Oxy is the fourth largest U.S. oil and gas company, based on equity market capitalization. Oxy is the largest oil producer in Texas and the largest natural gas producer in California, with additional operations in Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico.
Oxy's wholly-owned subsidiary, OxyChem, manufactures and markets chlor-alkali products and vinyls.
Oxy was founded in 1920. In 1957 Dr. Armand Hammer was elected president and CEO. In 1961, Oxy discovered California's second largest natural gas field in the Arbuckle area of the Sacramento basin at Lathrop. Over the next 10 years, Oxy expanded worldwide operations with efforts in Libya, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, Trinidad and the United Kingdom. Occidental won exploration rights in Libya in 1965 and achieved exploration and development success until all activities were suspended in 1986 as the result of economic sanctions imposed by the United States government. In 1968, Oxy entered the chemical business with the acquisition of Hooker Chemicals. This was 26 years after the contamination at Love Canal. On July 6, 1988 a fire on Piper Alpha, an oil platform in the North Sea, caused the biggest disaster in offshore oil industry's history. Today Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem) is a leading chemical manufacturer with interests in basic chemicals, vinyls and performance chemical products. In 1994, Dr. Ray Irani became President and CEO of Oxy.
Occidental’s oil and gas growth strategy relies on three components: Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), Exploration and Acquisitions.
Oil and Gas operations are focused in three core areas, the United States, the Middle East/North Africa, and South America.
In South America, Oxy operates in Argentina, and Colombia. In the Middle East, oxy has operations in Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Libya is its sole North African operation. In the United States--which accounts for 70 percent of its oil and gas reserves and 60 percent of current production--Oxy is the fourth largest oil and gas company. Occidental is the largest producer of natural gas in California, and the largest oil producer in Texas. Oxy also has operations in Kansas and Oklahoma.
Occidental formerly operated in Ecuador, but interest in Block 15 in the Ecuadorian Amazon was ended by the nation's government in 2006.