Well Construction

Exploring for and producing oil and natural gas requires drilling wells – often more than a mile deep – to bring oil and natural gas from deep underground to the surface. Occidental drills more than a thousand wells each year at our operations in the United States, Middle East and Latin America. Excellence in well design and drilling execution are key to our production success.

Once a well is drilled, steel pipe is placed in the well and cemented in place. The cemented pipe keeps the hole open for the life of the well and seals the formations that hold the oil and gas. To complete the well, holes are shot through the pipe and cement to allow the oil and gas to flow into the well under controlled conditions.

Smaller, removable pipe, called “tubing,” is installed to contain the flow of oil and gas to the surface. The tubing protects the permanent steel pipe from wear and corrosion. The steel pipe, tubing and high-pressure valves at the surface contain and control the oil and gas.
We use a variety of equipment and methods, such as artificial lift, to ensure that the fluids are brought to the surface efficiently.

Well stimulation technology deployed thousands of feet below the water table Click to enlarge


Safely, accurately and efficiently drilling wells deep in the earth is a challenging task. Occidental’s drilling professionals consistently meet this challenge by using state-of-the-art technologies and optimized equipment for each job; continually improving operating practices; and leveraging the expertise within our global drilling community of employees, contractors and suppliers. This enables the company to deliver superior drilling efficiency everywhere we operate.
Occidental has one of the most modern drilling rig fleets, including many advanced technology rigs, to ensure safe, fast and cost-effective drilling. Rigorous technical well design standards, a well-trained engineering staff, continuous performance monitoring and use of innovative technology help us to develop resources effectively. In addition, Occidental requires drilling site managers to attend certified well control training even if not required by regulations.
Occidental’s drilling professionals are part of a system, highly regarded within the industry, that builds, recognizes and reinforces technical and leadership competencies throughout their careers.

Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing is one of the many techniques Occidental uses to maximize production in certain fields. Hydraulic fracturing is effective in stimulating flow through tight rock formations that hold oil. These formations contain oil in small pore spaces, and the creation of hairline fractures allows oil to flow more readily to the well. Hydraulic fracturing is a carefully designed and engineered practice conducted by specialized service companies with oversight by Occidental engineers and has been a routine practice in the oil and gas industry for more than six decades.