Fracking in California

Companies Using Enhanced Oil Recovery

This page outlines some of the biggest companies in California that are using enhanced oil recovery techniques including, but not limited to, fracking.  A partial catalog of companies applying for well stimulation permits can be found at the Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermic Resources (DOGGR).

Occidental Petroleum

In 2012, Occidental drilled 760 wells and produced 148,000 BOEPD (barrels of oil equivalent per day), a 10% increase over the previous year.

Occidental is one of the major oil companies fracking in California

Occidental Petroleum is the principal operator of the Elk Hills Oil Field, shown here abutting the California Aqueduct.                        (Source: Wikimedia Commons)


Veneco is an oil and gas company that is especially active in offshore drilling. As of December, 2013, Veneco held 49,082 gross and over 36,000 net acres of developed State and Federal offshore drilling locations. Veneco has a “100% working interest” in its largest offshore oil operations in the South Ellwood field and Santa Clara Federal unit, both located off the coast of Santa Barbara. Veneco also holds about 34,000 net acres onshore in the Monterey Shale, focusing their efforts significantly on the Sevier Field located in Kern County.

Veneco is one of the major oil companies fracking in California

Platform Gail, operated by Veneco in the Santa Barbara Channel. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Aera Energy

Owned jointly by affiliates of Shell and ExxonMobil, Aera is active in the large producing fields in Kern County, including North and South Belridge, Midway Sunset, Lost Hills, Cymric, and McKittrick. They run additional onshore California operations located in or near Coalinga, San Ardo and Ventura.

Aera is one of the major oil companies fracking in California

The Beldridge Oil Field. (Source: Aera Energy)

Freeport McMoRan Oil & Gas

Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas (FCX), a division of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., is an international natural resources company that owns leading oil and gas production facilities in California.  The company has onshore facilities in the Los Angeles Basin, the San Joaquin Basin, and the Arroyo Grande Field in San Luis Obispo. The company also has facilities in Point Arguello and Point Pedernales, located off the shores of the Santa Maria Basin.  In June 2013, FCX acquired independent oil and gas company PXP, along with McMoRan Exploration Co., becoming the fourth largest Californian oil and natural gas producer.  FCX is most active in the Baldwin Hills Inglewood Oil Field, which produced 1,356,00 barrels of oil and 671, 695 cubic feet of natural gas in 2013.

FCX is one of the major oil companies fracking in California

Inglewood Oil Field boundaries map. (Source: Baldwin Hills Oil Watch)


Chevron is currently California’s top oil and gas producer, with drilling operations and refineries in Bakersfield, El Segundo, Richmond, San Francisco, and San Ramon.  They produced over 165,000 barrels of oil and 83 billion cubic feet of natural gas daily in 2013.

Chevron is one of the major oil companies fracking in California

Chevron drilling operation in Bakersfield’s Kern Oil Field. (Source: Businessweek)

Santa Maria Energy

Santa Maria Energy recently received project approval for their Oil Drilling and Production Plan (ODPP).  The plan involves installing 136 production oil wells, 2 steam generators, connecting pipelines, and oil processing facilities in the State Designated Orcutt Oil Field near Santa Barbara.  No fracking is proposed for this project, but it will use an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) technique called cyclic steaming.

Santa Maria Energy is one of the major oil companies fracking in California

Santa Maria Energy operation at the Orcutt Oil Field site. (Source: Santa Maria Sun)

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