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Ray R. Irani

Transformative Oil Industry Leader

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Date of Birth:



Beirut, Lebanon

Place of Birth:

Why Featured?

Revolutionized Occidental Petroleum

Brief bio

Ray R. Irani is a distinguished figure in the global oil industry, known for his transformative leadership as the Chairman and CEO of Occidental Petroleum. His journey from Beirut to becoming a central figure in the American oil sector encapsulates a narrative of ambition, innovation, and significant impact on the energy world.

Major Milestones


  • Immigration to the USA (1953): Irani moved to the United States to pursue higher education, culminating in a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Southern California...See More

  • Joining Occidental Petroleum (1983): His career at Occidental began in the chemicals division, rapidly ascending to the company's presidency...See More

  • CEO and Chairman of Occidental Petroleum (1990): Following Armand Hammer's death, Irani took over, significantly increasing the company's market capitalization.

  • Patent Holder: Irani is an inventor with over 150 U.S. and international patents to his name, showcasing his contribution to technological advancements in the industry.

  • Retirement and Ongoing Influence (2011): He retired as CEO but continued to shape the industry and Occidental's strategy until his departure from the board in 2013.

  • Increased Occidental's Market Capitalization: Under his leadership, Occidental's value soared, with significant growth in its oil and gas operations.

  • Strategic Refocus on Core Assets: Irani streamlined Occidental's operations, focusing on profitable oil and gas production and divesting non-core businesses.

  • Innovation in Oil Production: His strategic investments and focus on technology significantly enhanced oil production efficiency, particularly in mature fields.

  • Global Energy Ventures: Expanded Occidental's footprint with key international ventures, including significant deals in Libya and involvement in the Dolphin Project in the Middle East.

  • Engineering and Leadership Awards: Recognized for his leadership in the petrochemical industry, including election to the National Academy of Engineering, reflecting his status as a thought leader and innovator.

Date of Last Update: 
February 4, 2024

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