Occidental Petroleum Corporation


Occidental Petroleum Corporation

▪ American company
      major American oil- and gas-producing company. Headquarters are in Los Angeles.

      Founded in 1920, Occidental Petroleum was for many years a small, largely unprofitable California driller. It was precisely its bleak prospects that first attracted the attention of Armand Hammer (Hammer, Armand), a successful international businessman who hoped to use the ailing company as a tax shelter. Hammer had formed ties with the new Soviet government and had thus made his fortune trading American wheat for Russian furs in the 1920s.

      In 1957 Hammer bought a controlling interest in Occidental but quickly abandoned his tax shelter plan when its rigs struck a rich oil deposit in southern California. Hammer thereupon acquired a number of oil-related companies and in 1961 won an oil concession from Libya following a major oil discovery in that country, a deal that propelled the growth of “Oxy,” as the firm came to be called, into a major international oil company. Libya nationalized its oil production in the 1970s, however, and in 1982 Occidental acquired Cities Service Company to help replenish its dwindling domestic oil and natural gas reserves. In 1986 Occidental acquired the Midcon Corporation, which had one of the largest natural gas pipelines in the United States. The move marked the decisive shift of Occidental to domestic, rather than foreign, energy ventures. The company is also involved in coal mining and the manufacture of chemicals and plastics, agricultural chemicals, fertilizers, and the processing and marketing of meat.

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Universalium. 2010.

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