press release

Texaco Press Release - Kern River Celebrates 100 Year Anniversary

Celebration Marks the Discovery of the Fifth Largest Oil Producing Field in the United States


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. May 18 - Community leaders, elected officials and Texaco executives and employees gathered today to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the Kern River oil field by Jonathan and James Elwood.

In May 1899, the father and son team used shovels and hand-augers to dig a single 45-foot-deep well, which was the first of many in this prolific oil field. Today, one century since its discovery, Kern River is the second largest producing field in California and the 5th largest producing field in the United States. The field encompasses nearly 9,600 acres of land, has approximately 10,000 producing wells and has produced more than 1.6 billion barrels of oil.

Commenting on the centennial anniversary, Peter I. Bijur, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Texaco, said, "The entire Texaco family is proud of our role and success in Kern River -- a field that exemplifies our industry's inventiveness and ability to change how we operate to meet new challenges. At Kern River we have learned that the combination of significant reserves, talented employees and a dedicated community is the key to accomplishing formidable tasks, including extending the life of a 100-year-old oil field.

"The 100th anniversary of the Kern River field is a time to celebrate the colorful story of this field's past, and our vision for its future."

The Kern River field utilizes technologies such as steamflooding, cogeneration, the reclamation and reuse of produced water and 3D Visualization to meet the challenges of producing heavy crude oil. Use of these technologies in Kern River has enabled operators to improve safety and protect the environment while setting new production records with a goal of extracting more than 80 percent of the crude oil contained in the field.

Supervisor Jon McQuiston, Chairman of the Kern County Board of Supervisors, said, "As the community marks this important anniversary, we are extremely proud to be a part of the celebration. During its 100 years of existence, the field has provided thousands of jobs, the most economical forms of energy and the necessary resources to build a stable, thriving community. The operators in Kern River have shown a steadfast commitment to the Kern County community and the people who live here."

Texaco's operations in Kern River include approximately 5,400 producing wells, which have produced more than one billion barrels of oil as of September 1998. In addition, the company operates two cogeneration plants in the Kern River field, which burn natural gas to produce steam and generate electric power. The steam is used for steamflooding to enable the heavy oil to flow more easily, and the electricity is used to run the company's field operations and supply the Southern California power grid enough power to light 600,000 homes.

For more on the Kern River Field, see

Updated: May 1999