In 1909, California pioneer Clarence Jesse (“C.J.”) Berry founded the Ethel D. Company, named for his new bride, and successfully drilled for oil on the Ethel D. property in Kern County’s San Joaquin Basin near Maricopa, CA. The many oil companies C.J. Berry formed in the area over the next 20 years built the foundation for the Berry of today.
Over the course of a decade, C.J. Berry formed 13 oil and gas corporations, offering family and friends a stake in the production of a certain property. The collection of companies included Berry Oil Company, BB & O Oil Company, and Berry & Ewing.
After reaching the milestone of producing an estimated 9.5 million barrels of oil, C.J. Berry died unexpectedly from a ruptured appendix at the age of 54. In 1931, Duane Bush took over as CEO of Berry Companies.
Berry first experimented with steam-enhanced oil recovery — a new injection process for mature Kern County fields — and built a small steamer to use on Ethel D. Company wells.
Berry Petroleum Company was organized and incorporated. The reorganization involved Berry Holding Company, Ethel D. Company, Big Ten Oil Company, Berry & Ewing, Berry Oil Company, Ethel D. Supply Company, Surprise Oil Company, and Berry Ventures. In 1989, Berry Petroleum Company listed on the NYSE with the ticker symbol BRY.
Expanding its operational areas, Berry acquired the Formax and Tannehill properties, and produced its 100,000,000th barrel of oil. In 1998, Berry also acquired the Placerita Field in Los Angeles County’s Ventura Basin.
Berry’s corporate offices relocated to Bakersfield, California. In 2003, Berry acquired the Brundage Canyon assets in Utah’s Uinta Basin for $45 million — its first major acquisition outside the borders of California.
LINN Energy acquired Berry in 2013 and subsequently underwent a financial restructuring in 2016. In February 2017, Berry emerged from the LINN bankruptcy as a stable, well-capitalized, stand-alone company. On July 26, 2018, the company launched its successful IPO and is currently listed on the NASDAQ Exchange as BRY.
In February 2020, Berry introduced a new logo and shortened name – Berry Corporation (bry) – to reflect the company’s progressive approach to evolving and growing the business in today’s dynamic oil and gas industry. Today, Berry has production in three states, and is always looking to continue the course of success and growth that C.J. envisioned when he drilled his first well on the Ethel D lease in 1909.