Occidental posts $272 million in losses, far better than year prior

Occidental Petroleum Corp. employees and guests, including Gov. Rick Perry, Rep. Tom Craddick, Mayor Jerry Morales and others help turn the dirt during a ground breaking ceremony for Occidential’s Midland office complex.
(Tim Fischer\Reporter-Telegram)

Occidental Petroleum Corp. significantly narrowed its fourth quarter loss as it wrapped up another difficult year, but one that was far better than 2015,  the company reported Thursday.

Oxy said it lost $272 million in the last three months of 2016, compared to a loss of $5.2 billion in the same period in 2015. For all of 2016, the Houston exploration and production company lost $574 million, compared to a net loss of  the  $7.8 billion  in 2015.

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Operating cash flow rebounded to $921 million in the fourth quarter, up $70 million or 8 percent from the $851 million posted in fourth quarter 2015.

Oil and gas production rose 7 percent by year’s end. The company’s operations in West Texas’ Permian Basin grew by 13 percent, cut costs by 25 percent and added significantly to Oxy reserves.

“In the Permian Basin,” said Oxy chief executive Vicki Hollub, “everywhere we look, we find as we look deeper, we find more opportunities. So the Permian is a place where we think that it’s first of all very difficult to drill a dry hole there. Secondly, the more you learn about it and the more you engineer it, the better your wells get.”

The company is reducing its 2017 capital budget to under $3.6 billion.