Occidental Petroleum Corp. said it had discovered oil and natural gas in a Kern County field that might represent the biggest find in California in more than 35 years.
The nation's fourth-biggest oil company said Wednesday that it had found the equivalent of 150 million to 250 million barrels of oil, adding that two-thirds of the new source was believed to be natural gas.
The Westwood company owns 80% of the Kern County field; Chevron Corp. of San Ramon, Calif., owns the rest.
"We believe this to be the largest new oil and gas discovery made in California in more than 35 years," said Ray R. Irani, Occidental chairman and chief executive.
The discovery was described as major by analysts and probably resulted from improved exploration technology. The find could cause other oil companies to redouble their efforts to drill for oil and natural gas in the U.S., they said.