Occidental Petroleum
Overview
 
Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) is a California-based oil
Oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

 and gas
Gas
Gas is one of the three classical states of matter . Near absolute zero, a substance exists as a solid. As heat is added to this substance it melts into a liquid at its melting point , boils into a gas at its boiling point, and if heated high enough would enter a plasma state in which the electrons...

 exploration and production company with operations in the United States, the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. "Oxy" is the largest oil producer in Texas and the largest natural gas producer and second-largest producer of oil and gas combined in California, with additional operations in Kansas, North Dakota, Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico.
Encyclopedia
Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Oxy) is a California-based oil
Oil
An oil is any substance that is liquid at ambient temperatures and does not mix with water but may mix with other oils and organic solvents. This general definition includes vegetable oils, volatile essential oils, petrochemical oils, and synthetic oils....

 and gas
Gas
Gas is one of the three classical states of matter . Near absolute zero, a substance exists as a solid. As heat is added to this substance it melts into a liquid at its melting point , boils into a gas at its boiling point, and if heated high enough would enter a plasma state in which the electrons...

 exploration and production company with operations in the United States, the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

, North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. "Oxy" is the largest oil producer in Texas and the largest natural gas producer and second-largest producer of oil and gas combined in California, with additional operations in Kansas, North Dakota, Utah, Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico. The company nickname began in 1964 in reference to Occidental’s NYSE stock ticker (OXY). Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Oxy is the fourth-largest U.S. oil and gas company, based on equity market capitalization. As of 2010, the company has more than 30,000 employees and contractors worldwide.

Oxy's role in oil and natural gas exploration and production, to which they have pledged a commitment to responsibility, has also been a source of criticism. The company states that it is "committed to respecting the environment, protecting safety and upholding high standards of social responsibility throughout its worldwide operations." Critics have raised concerns about Occidental's historical operations in these areas.

Oxy’s subsidiaries include wholly owned chemical manufacturers Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem), OxyVinyls, and INDSPEC Chemical Corporation. Oxy indirectly owns Armand Products Company with Church & Dwight Co., Inc.
Church and Dwight
Church & Dwight Co., Inc. is a minor U.S. manufacturer of household products that is based in Princeton, New Jersey. While it manufactures many items, it is by far best known for its Arm & Hammer line which includes baking soda and many other items made with it. The company was founded in 1896 to...

. Carbocloro S.A. Indústrias Químicas, is a joint venture between OxyChem and UNIPAR in Brazil.

History

Occidental was founded in 1920. In 1957, Dr. Armand Hammer
Armand Hammer
Armand Hammer was an American business tycoon most closely associated with Occidental Petroleum, a company he ran for decades, though he was known as well as for his art collection, his philanthropy, and for his close ties to the Soviet Union.Thanks to business interests around the world and his...

 was elected president and CEO. In 1961, the company discovered the second largest natural gas field in California in the Arbuckle
Arbuckle, California
Arbuckle is a census-designated place in Colusa County, California, United States. The population was 3,028 at the 2010 census, up from 2,332 at the 2000 census. The town entrance sign on I-5 only says 864 people, but it's very old and hasn't been updated...

 area of the Sacramento basin at Lathrop. Over the next 10 years, Occidental expanded internationally with operations in Libya, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, Trinidad, and the United Kingdom. Occidental won exploration rights in Libya in 1965 and operated there until all activities were suspended in 1986 after the United States imposed economic sanctions on Libya. On July 6, 1988, an explosion and subsequent inferno on the Piper Alpha
Piper Alpha
Piper Alpha was a North Sea oil production platform operated by Occidental Petroleum Ltd. The platform began production in 1976, first as an oil platform and then later converted to gas production. An explosion and resulting fire destroyed it on 6 July 1988, killing 167 men, with only 61...

 platform, operated by Occidental Petroleum (Caledonia) Ltd in the UK North Sea, resulted in 167 fatalities in what remains the world's most deadly offshore disaster.

Occidental entered the chemical business with the acquisition of Hooker Chemicals in 1968, 26 years after the contamination at Love Canal
Love Canal
Love Canal was a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York, located in the white collar LaSalle section of the city. It officially covers 36 square blocks in the far southeastern corner of the city, along 99th Street and Read Avenue...

. Today, Dallas-based Occidental Chemical is a leading chemical manufacturer with interests in basic chemicals, vinyls and performance chemical products.

In 1990, Dr. Ray R. Irani became Occidental Petroleum Corporation's Chairman and CEO. He held the additional title of President from 2005 to 2007. Occidental Petroelum’s compensation policies came under scrutiny in 2007 after it was announced that CEO, Ray Irani, collected $460 million in stock shares and salary in 2006. In May 2011, Irani retired as CEO after the California State Teachers' Retirement System and Relational Investors, two major institutional Occidental Investors, objected to the company's compensation policies for top executives. President Stephen Chazen was named CEO of Occidental to replace Irani who stayed on as executive Chairman until 2014. Since 1990, Occidental has gone from a collection of unrelated businesses to one that focuses on oil and gas. During Irani's tenure as CEO, Occidental’s market capitalization increased to more than $80 billion from $5.4 billion.

In 2005, Occidental was among 53 entities which contributed the maximum of $250,000 to the second inauguration of President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. In 2008, Oxy contributed $301,579 to Democratic candidates and $204,587 to Republican candidates.

Financial performance

At year-end 2010, Occidental was the fourth-largest U.S. oil and gas company measured by market capitalization, with a market capitalization of $79.7 billion at that date. This represented a fifteenfold increase in the company's market capitalization since the end of 1990, when it was approximately $5.4 billion. At year-end 2010, Occidental was ranked No. 33 on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index. Shares of Occidental rose by nearly 21 percent in 2010, compared with a 12 percent increase in the Chicago Board Options Exchange index of oil companies.
Occidental Petroleum Financial Performance
Fiscal year Market capitalization (billions) Revenue (billions) Income before income taxes (loss)(billions)
2005 $32.112 $16.259 $7.133
2006 $41.070 $18.160 $7.830
2007 $63.794 $20.013 $8.572
2008 $48.585 $24.480 $11.371
2009 $66.050 $15.531 $4.669
2010 $79.735 $19.157 $7.359

Oil and gas

Occidental’s growth strategy in oil and gas relies on three components: enhanced oil recovery
Enhanced oil recovery
Enhanced Oil Recovery is a generic term for techniques for increasing the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from an oil field...

 (EOR), exploration and acquisitions.
Occidental’s oil and gas operations are focused in three core areas, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

/North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. Occidental had approximately 3.36 Goilbbl of oil equivalent net proved reserves at December 31, 2010. In 2010, the company had its highest annual daily sales volume in history – 748000 barrels (118,922.5 m³) of oil equivalent.

The United States accounted for 66 percent of Occidental's oil and gas reserves and 51 percent of the current production in 2010. Occidental is the largest producer of natural gas and second-largest producer of oil and gas on a barrels of oil equivalent basis in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, where in 2009 it made what is believed to be the largest oil and natural gas discovery in the state in 35 years. It also operates the THUMS Islands
THUMS Islands
THUMS Islands are a set of four artificial islands in San Pedro Bay off the coast of Long Beach, California. They were built to tap into the East Wilmington Oil Field...

 in the San Pedro Bay
San Pedro Bay (California)
San Pedro Bay is an inlet on the Pacific Ocean coast of southern California, United States. It is the site of the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, which together form the fifth-busiest port facility in the world and easily the busiest in the Western Hemisphere...

. Occidental's total share of oil and gas 2010 production in California was approximately 139000 barrels (22,099.2 m³) of oil equivalent per day and its properties held approximately 768 Moilbbl of oil equivalent in proved reserves.

Occidental also has significant oil and natural gas holdings in the Permian Basin of West Texas
West Texas
West Texas is a vernacular term applied to a region in the southwestern quadrant of the United States that primarily encompasses the arid and semi-arid lands in the western portion of the state of Texas....

 and Southeast New Mexico
New Mexico
New Mexico is a state located in the southwest and western regions of the United States. New Mexico is also usually considered one of the Mountain States. With a population density of 16 per square mile, New Mexico is the sixth-most sparsely inhabited U.S...

. Occidental is the largest oil producer in the Permian Basin, where it produced roughly 197000 barrels (31,320.5 m³) of oil equivalent per day in 2010 and held 1.2 Goilbbl of proved reserves as of December 31, 2010. In the Permian Basin, Oxy is the largest operator of EOR oil projects that inject carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 into underground formations to extract the oil and gas that remains after primary recovery operations.
In 2010, the company’s 31 CO2 projects produced nearly 85000 barrels (13,513.9 m³) of oil per day as a result of EOR, according to Oil & Gas Journal’s biennial EOR survey.

Occidental’s Mid-Continent Gas operations are concentrated in the Permian Basin, Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

, Utah
Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

 and Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

. These operations produced approximately 62000 barrels (9,857.2 m³) of oil equivalent per day in 2010 and had proved reserves of 266 Moilbbl of oil equivalent, as of December 31, 2010. In 2010, Oxy announced the acquisition of new shale oil properties in Williston Basin
Williston Basin
The Williston Basin is a large intracratonic sedimentary basin in eastern Montana, western North and South Dakota, and southern Saskatchewan known for its rich deposits of petroleum and potash. The basin is a geologic structural basin but not a topographic depression; it is transected by the...

 in North Dakota as well as natural gas and oil properties in South Texas.

Occidental’s Middle East and North Africa operations accounted for 38 percent of its worldwide production in 2010, producing approximately 287500 barrels (45,708.8 m³) of oil equivalent. The region also holds 26 percent of the company’s proved reserves. In the Middle East, Occidental has operations in Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, Oman
Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

, Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

, Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

, Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

. Oxy is the second-largest oil producer in Oman. In Qatar, it is a partner in the giant Dolphin natural gas project, which delivers gas to Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The company has its only operation in North Africa in Libya. In 2005, Occidental and partner Liwa won eight out of 15 exploration spots on the EPSA-4 auction, making both companies among the first to enter the Libyan market since the United States lifted its embargo on that country. In early 2011, Occidental won a contract to join Abu Dhabi’s state oil company in developing the Shah natural-gas project, one of the largest natural gas fields in the Middle East.

In South America, Occidental operates in Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

 and Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

. Occidental’s share of production from its Colombia assets was approximately 32000 barrels (5,087.6 m³) of oil per day in 2010. In Colombia, Occidental and Ecopetrol, the state-owned oil company, discovered the giant Caño Limón oilfield in 1983. It proved to be the largest discovery in Colombia’s oil history and helped return the country to the oil-exporter status.

In 2010, Occidental announced the sale of its oil and gas operations in Argentina to Sinopec, a subsidiary of China Petrochemical Corporation; the transaction was completed in early 2011. Occidental formerly operated in Ecuador
Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, but the government ended the company's interests in block 15 in the Ecuadorian Amazon in 2006.

Chemical

Oxy’s subsidiaries include wholly owned chemical manufacturers Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem), OxyVinyls, and INDSPEC Chemical Corporation. OxyChem is a Dallas, Texas-based manufacturer of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resins, chlorine and caustic soda used in plastics, pharmaceuticals and water treatment chemicals. Other products manufactured by the company include caustic potash, chlorinated organics, sodium silicates, chlorinated isocyanurates and calcium chloride. OxyChem has manufacturing facilities in the United States, Canada, Chile and Brazil.

Through joint ventures, Oxy indirectly owns Armand Products Company, with OxyChem and Church & Dwight Co., Inc., which sells potassium carbonate and potassium bicarbonate. Carbocloro S.A. Indústrias Químicas, a joint venture between OxyChem and UNIPAR, manufactures and sells chlor-alkali products in Brazil.

On October 11, 2008, an accidental spill of oleum
Oleum
Oleum , or fuming sulfuric acid refers to a solution of various compositions of sulfur trioxide in sulfuric acid or sometimes more specifically to disulfuric acid ....

, a chemical similar to sulfuric acid, occurred at INDSPEC’s facility in Petrolia, Pennsylvania
Petrolia, Pennsylvania
Petrolia is a borough in Butler County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 218 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Petrolia is located at ....

. The accident caused contamination of the ventilation system and a cloud of toxic gas in the Petrolia sky. 2,500 residents of the area were asked to evacuate.

Oil shale

Starting in 1972, Occidental Oil Shale, Inc., a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, began research on a shale oil extraction process, ending research in 1991. The company conducted the first modified in situ oil shale experiment in 1972 at Logan Wash, Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

. The process used explosives to create underground chambers (retorts) of fractured oil shale. About 20% was mined out after which blasting was used to fracture oil shale. The commercial-sized retort covered 333 by area and had height of 400 feet (121.9 m). Oil shale was then ignited on the top by external fuel and air or steam was injected to control the process. As a result, combustion moved from the top to the bottom of retort.

During the process four major zones could be identified. In the pre-heat zone air contacted processed hot shale (spent shale) which pre-heated air. In the combustion zone, oxygen in air was used to burn carbon residue in the spent shale. Below this zone, heated gas caused retorting process converting kerogen
Kerogen
Kerogen is a mixture of organic chemical compounds that make up a portion of the organic matter in sedimentary rocks. It is insoluble in normal organic solvents because of the huge molecular weight of its component compounds. The soluble portion is known as bitumen. When heated to the right...

 in oil shale to oil shale gas
Oil shale gas
Oil shale gas is a synthetic gas mixture produced by oil shale pyrolysis. Although often referred to as shale gas, it differs from the natural gas produced from shale, which is also known as shale gas.-Process:...

 and shale oil
Shale oil
Shale oil, known also as kerogen oil or oil-shale oil, is an unconventional oil produced from oil shale by pyrolysis, hydrogenation, or thermal dissolution. These processes convert the organic matter within the rock into synthetic oil and gas...

 vapors. In the final zone oil and gas were cooled and collected through separation sump
Sump
A sump is a low space that collects any often-undesirable liquids such as water or chemicals. A sump can also be an infiltration basin used to manage surface runoff water and recharge underground aquifers....

 and collecting well. All together, six retorts have been burned at the site.

Phibro

CFO Stephen Chazen led Occidental's October 12, 2009 acquisition of Citigroup's controversial Phibro energy-trading business, paying $250 million for the unit and the services of Phibro chief Andrew J. Hall. Hall’s compensation of $100 million in 2009 was seen as a problem for troubled Citibank which struggled with continuing losses before selling the unit. So far the Occidental-owned Phibro has had mixed results. Occidental suffered significant trading losses in 2010, causing the company to fall short of analyst expectations, and landed in the red again in the second quarter of 2011 despite Chazen’s public support of Hall.

Corporate social responsibility

Occidental's role in oil and natural gas exploration and production has also been a source of criticism. The company states that it is "committed to respecting the environment, maintaining safety and upholding high standards of social responsibility throughout the company's worldwide operations." Critics have raised concerns about Occidental's historical operations in these areas.

Occidental Petroleum is a signatory participant of the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights.

Libya

Occidental has been criticized for lobbying for a special exemption, on behalf of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, to a federal law designed by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to assist American terror victims seize assets of countries found culpable in terror attacks such as the Libyan bombing of the Pan Am flight in Lockerbie in 1988 which resulted in the deaths of 270 passengers and crew, including 189 Americans. In 2008 the company hired Hogan & Hartson, a Washington D.C. law firm to successfully secure the exemption for Libya, a country where Occidental had major oil drilling operations prior to the anti-Qaddafi uprising in February 2011. Occidental’s Chairman, Ray Irani, told investors during a conference call in 2007 that “Libya is a very attractive place” in describing that country’s oil reserves. Irani led Occidental back into Libya in 2005, personally negotiating with Qaddafi, the terms of a new contract after the sanctions imposed by President Reagan as a result of Libya’s terror attacks were finally lifted by the U.S. government. The company has since withdrawn from Libya pending resolution of the current crisis.

Libyan Investment Authority

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission was in June 2011 investigating Occidental’s possible role in illegal actions relating to the Libyan Investment Authority or LIA, an investment firm controlled by Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. United Kingdom prosecutors, in cooperation with the SEC, have undertaken similar investigations of Occidental’s actions during this same period to determine if Occidental, as well as other oil companies, violated international bribery laws. The Libyan government has invested $80 million dollars in Occidental. These funds were subsequently seized by the U.S. government in reaction to Qaddafi’s attacks on Libyan civilians.

Environmental record

Oxy has been noted within the oil and gas industry as being among the first to employ carbon dioxide (CO2) injection for enhanced oil recovery; this technique is a means of long-term geologic storage of CO2, which could reduce future greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere.

Occidental was recognized by the EPA in 2008 as Production Partner of the Year and in 2009 for Continuing Excellence (5 Years). Occidental is a member of the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC). The WHC has certified the habitat conservation and education programs at eight of the company's sites.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a public research and land-grant university in Amherst, Massachusetts, United States and the flagship of the University of Massachusetts system...

 identified Occidental Petroleum as the 47th-largest corporate producer of air pollution
Air pollution
Air pollution is the introduction of chemicals, particulate matter, or biological materials that cause harm or discomfort to humans or other living organisms, or cause damage to the natural environment or built environment, into the atmosphere....

 in the United States, with about 1.2 million pounds of toxic chemicals released annually into the air.
Pollutants emitted by the company included chlorine
Chlorine
Chlorine is the chemical element with atomic number 17 and symbol Cl. It is the second lightest halogen, found in the periodic table in group 17. The element forms diatomic molecules under standard conditions, called dichlorine...

, antimony
Antimony
Antimony is a toxic chemical element with the symbol Sb and an atomic number of 51. A lustrous grey metalloid, it is found in nature mainly as the sulfide mineral stibnite...

 compounds, benzotrichloride
Benzotrichloride
Benzotrichloride, also known as trichlorotoluene is an organic compound with the formula C6H5CCl3. It is principally used as an intermediate in the preparation of other chemical products such as dyes.-Production and uses:...

, and hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid
Hydrochloric acid is a solution of hydrogen chloride in water, that is a highly corrosive, strong mineral acid with many industrial uses. It is found naturally in gastric acid....

.

Love Canal

In 1942, Hooker Chemical and Plastics began disposing chemical waste in the Love Canal
Love Canal
Love Canal was a neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York, located in the white collar LaSalle section of the city. It officially covers 36 square blocks in the far southeastern corner of the city, along 99th Street and Read Avenue...

 region. Other companies as well as the military had used it as a chemical disposal site since the 1920s. In 1947, Hooker Chemicals became the owner and the sole user of the land. In 1952, the site was filled to capacity and closed off. Later in the 1950s, the local school board requested Hooker, after threatening to resort to eminent domain
Eminent domain
Eminent domain , compulsory purchase , resumption/compulsory acquisition , or expropriation is an action of the state to seize a citizen's private property, expropriate property, or seize a citizen's rights in property with due monetary compensation, but without the owner's consent...

, to sell the land. The school board intended to build a school on an unused area of the dump. Hooker Chemical sold the land to the school board at $1, with the warning that the site contained waste products from the manufacturing of chemicals, and disclaimed all subsequent liability.

A school was built on the site, and later a middle-class residential district was built upon the land adjacent to the site. The construction broke through the 4 feet (1.2 m) clay seal containing the waste. In 1968, Hooker Chemical was purchased by Occidental Petroleum. In 1978, residents became concerned about unusual health issues in the Love Canal region, including high rates of cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 and birth defects. This subsequently became a national news story, and in 1980, president Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 declared a federal emergency in the area. Residents were eventually relocated, and Occidental paid $129 million in restitution.

Colombia

Occidental met with substantial resistance from 1992 to 2001 when it tried to drill for oil in the territory of the U'wa people
U'wa people
The U'wa people are an indigenous people living in the cloud forests of northeastern Colombia. Historically, the U'wa numbered as many as 20,000, scattered over a homeland that extended across the Venezuela-Colombia border. Some 7-8,000 U'wa are alive today....

 in northeast Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

. The locals were concerned about environmental damage and feared that development would bring strangers and invite violence to the region. There also were tribal beliefs that oil is the "blood of the earth" and should not be removed. They believed that oil infrastructure would be a target for violent leftist guerillas in the country. After years of shareholder resolution
Shareholder resolution
With respect to public companies in the United States, Shareholder resolutions are proposals submitted by shareholders for a vote at the company's annual meeting. Typically, resolutions are opposed by the corporation's management, hence the insistence for a vote...

s, legal battles, protests, and a failed test well, the company abandoned the project. Repsol YPF
Repsol YPF
Repsol YPF, S.A. is an integrated Spanish oil and gas company with operations in 29 countries...

 took over the project and continues to work on it.
Caño Limón


On December 13, 1998, seventeen civilians, including 7 children, were killed when the Colombian Air Force dropped a cluster bomb in the hamlet of Santo Domingo, Colombia, after AirScan
AirScan
AirScan, Inc. is a private military contractor that specializes in airborne surveillance and security.- History :AirScan Inc. was formed in 1984 by former US Air Commandos Walter Holloway and John Mansur with high standards of recruitment. They have been specializing in airborne surveillance,...

, Occidental's security contractor, from a private aircraft, incorrectly identified it as a hostile guerrilla target. Groups such as FARC and the National Liberation Army
National Liberation Army (Colombia)
National Liberation Army is a revolutionary, avowed Marxist guerrilla group that has been operating in several regions of Colombia since 1964....

 were active in the area. Three employees of AirScan were flying the Skymaster plane from which they provided the Colombian military with the coordinates to drop the bombs. The operation had been planned by the CAF and AirScan at the Occidental's complex in Caño Limón. A lawsuit was attempted in April 2003 against Occidental by Luis Alberto Galvis Mujica, a witness and survivor of the accident. Plaintiffs claims were dismissed by the trial court. The dismissal was appealed to 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which sent the back case to the trial court to resolve a single issue. The trial court declined to reconsider the case, thereby reinstating the dismissal. The case is once again on appeal.

Maynas Carijano v. Occidental Petroleum

On May 10, 2007, a group of 25 indigenous
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 Achuar
Achuar
The Achuar are an Amazonian community of some 18,500 individuals along either side of the border in between Ecuador and Peru. As of the early 1970s, the Achuar were one of the last of the Jivaroan groups still to be spared the effects of western contact....

 Peruvians filed suit against Occidental, demanding clean-up and reparations for environmental damages allegedly caused by Occidental over 30 years. The plaintiffs claimed that the company violated the industry standards and the environmental regulations by dumping a total of 9 Goilbbl of toxic oil by-products in watersheds used by the Achuar people to fish, drink, and bathe. The Achuar were represented by Los Angeles-based EarthRights International and the law firm Schonbrun DeSimone Seplow Harris & Hoffman LLP.

On March 3, 2010, EarthRights International (ERI) argued to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that the landmark environmental and public health case brought by indigenous Peruvian Achuar and the U.S. NGO Amazon Watch against Los Angeles-based oil giant Occidental Petroleum (Oxy), Maynas Carijano v. Occidental Petroleum, should be litigated in Los Angeles, where Oxy is headquartered.
The appeals court will be deciding whether the oil giant will face suit in its own hometown or whether the case will move to Peru.

Greenmail

In 1984, David Murdock owned about 5% of the company's shares. When Murdock called on the management to take measures to increase the share price, it chose to pay greenmail
Greenmail
Greenmail or greenmailing is the practice of purchasing enough shares in a firm to threaten a takeover and thereby forcing the target firm to buy those shares back at a premium in order to suspend the takeover....

 to buy back shares from him at $40.10, while the market price was $28.75.

Gore family

Occidental's coal interests were represented for many years by attorney
Lawyer
A lawyer, according to Black's Law Dictionary, is "a person learned in the law; as an attorney, counsel or solicitor; a person who is practicing law." Law is the system of rules of conduct established by the sovereign government of a society to correct wrongs, maintain the stability of political...

 and former U.S. Senator Albert Gore, Sr.
Albert Gore, Sr.
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Sr. was an American politician, serving as a U.S. Representative and a U.S. Senator for the Democratic Party from Tennessee....

, among others. Gore, who had a long-time close friendship with Hammer, became the head of the subsidiary Island Creek Coal Company, upon his election loss in the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

. Much of Occidental's coal and phosphate production was in Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

, the state Gore represented in the Senate, and Gore owned shares in the company. Former Vice President
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 Albert Gore, Jr. received much criticism from environmentalists, when the shares passed to the estate after the death of Albert Gore Sr., and Albert Gore Jr. was a son and the executor of the estate. Albert Gore Jr. did not exercise control over the shares, which were eventually sold when the estate closed.

In 1998, the US government sold the Elk Hills naval petroleum reserve
Elk Hills Oil Field
The Elk Hills Oil Field is a large oil field in northwestern Kern County, in the Elk Hills of the San Joaquin Valley, California in the United States, about twenty miles west of Bakersfield...

 to Occidental for $3.65 billion. According to the government, the reserve was no longer strategically necessary, and the reserve was sold to reduce the national debt and the size of the government. To ensure competition, the field was sold in segments and offered to multiple bidders. Critics cited Vice President Al Gore's involvement with the company as evidence of graft.

Safety record

OxyChem has achieved Star Status under OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Programs as being among the safest work sites in the U.S.

Piper Alpha

On July 6, 1988 Occidental's Piper Alpha
Piper Alpha
Piper Alpha was a North Sea oil production platform operated by Occidental Petroleum Ltd. The platform began production in 1976, first as an oil platform and then later converted to gas production. An explosion and resulting fire destroyed it on 6 July 1988, killing 167 men, with only 61...

 offshore production platform in the UK North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 was destroyed when an out of service gas condensate pump was started with its pressure safety valve removed. The subsequent gas leak, explosion and fire resulted in the deaths of 167 workers in what remains the world's most deadly offshore disaster.

Businesses

  • Occidental Oil & Gas Corporation
  • Occidental Chemical Corporation (OxyChem)

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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