Occidental expects oil production to rise to pre-downturn levels

Occidental Petroleum Corp., the largest producer in Texas’ Permian basin, expects to ramp up its oil production to pre-downturn levels after years of reducing the company’s investment in oil fields around the world.

Vicki Hollub, CEO of the Houston-based company, said Occidental had trimmed its global operations to focus in the Middle East, South America and the Permian after oil prices plummeted. Unlike other companies, Occidental employees were not laid off, but instead relocated to jobs in the field to replace contractors that the company could no longer afford.

As a result, Occidental is ready to start making up for some of the losses of the past three years, Hollub said.

“As our footprint has gotten smaller, we need to start reinvesting at a faster pace to get cash flow back to where it was,” she said in an interview with Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS Markit, during CERA week.

Occidental  specializes in enhanced oil recovery, a process that injects carbon dioxide into the ground to help pump oil from older fields that have been in production for a longer time.  and exploration,

Like many CEOs attending the conference, Hollub stressed that efficiency will help the company produce more with greater returns, despite lower oil prices.

“We will be back to the production levels we were at when we were in all those countries, and get more returns,” she said.