The chemicals business of Occidental Petroleum, Occidental Chemical (OxyChem) manufactures basic chemicals, vinyls, and performance chemicals. The company is the top US maker of chlorine and caustic soda (used in bleach, plastics, and pulp and paper) and the top producer of potassium hydroxide, or caustic potash (used in fertilizers). Through subsidiary OxyVinyls it's the leading North American maker of vinyl chloride monomer (VCM), which is used to make PVC resins. The company operates some 22 plants throughout the US as well as another three in Brazil, Canada, and Chile. (OxyChem owns 50% of the Brazilian plant.)
OxyChem holds leading market positions for almost every product it makes. Subsidiary OxyVinyls is the world's largest VCM producer and third-largest PVC producer, and the second-largest PVC supplier in North America.
The OxyChem unit generated about $4 billion in revenues in 2010, about 21% of its parent company's overall business. Higher demand for basic chemicals and vinyl products in 2011 is expected to combine with overall economic improvement in the US as the housing, automotive, and durable goods sectors rebound from the recent recession.
OxyChem has a joint venture with Church & Dwight Co. and has formed Armand Products Company, which sells potassium carbonate and potassium bicarbonate. In addition, it has a joint venture with Univar and formed Carbocloro SA, which manufactures and sells chlor-alkali products. In 2011 the company agreed to form a joint venture with Dow Chemical to produce a new chlorocarbon for next-generation, climate-friendly refrigerants. The chlorocarbon, known as HCC-120xa, will be used to produce the refrigerant HFO-1234yf, which has low global-warming potential (GWP) and zero ozone depletion potential (ODP). It will be used initially in auto air-conditioning systems.
The company also operates salt mines in Louisiana, Kansas, and Wisconsin, from which it manufactures chlor-alkali chemicals like chlorine, caustic soda, and hydrochloric acid. – less