Occidental ready to bring Bakken phenomenon to California

Nov. 15, 2012

By Chris Reed

In my research for a U-T San Diego editorial that’s running today about fracking’s immense promise in California, I was astounded to find that Occidental, one of the largest oil/gas companies in the U.S., says it has already secured control of drillable land in the Central Valley with quintuple the potential oil reserves of the Bakken formation in North Dakota:

“Even if California’s media haven’t caught on to the state’s potential for a Bakken-style economic boom, the oil industry has. By far the BLM’s biggest 2011 lease [for use of federal land for oil and gas exploration in California] was the $180,000 paid for a 200-acre parcel by Vintage Production California, a Bakersfield-based subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, the third-largest U.S. oil and gas producer. On Oxy’s website, it estimates the shale reserves on California land it already controls to have over 20 billion barrels of potential oil — a claim that the company says is made in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s rule that only ‘economically producible’ reserves can be cited in SEC filings.”

We can expect an immense battle over fracking in California, starting soon. The environmentalists are hugely powerful here. But with tens of billions of dollars at stake, Occidental and other oil companies won’t be scared to take them on.



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