What happened

Shares of Occidental Petroleum (OXY -0.83%) slumped 14% in July, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Weighing on the oil stock was the lack of progress on shoring up its balance sheet.  

So what

July was a relatively quiet month for Occidental Petroleum, which wasn't what the market wanted to see from the deeply indebted oil company. Ideally, investors would have liked a continuation of June's progress on shoring up its balance sheet. Instead, there were only reports that it was getting close to selling more assets to pay off debt. 

Oil field worker with a laptop at sunset.

Image source: Getty Images.

The first report came on July 7 when news came that Wyoming would bid on a package of land and minerals in that state. Occidental had extended the timeline for that auction process until early July to accommodate the state. However, the company has yet to announce whether it has successfully concluded that process. 

Meanwhile, at the end of the month, Bloomberg reported that Occidental was in talks with Indonesian company PT Pertamina about acquiring some of its oil and gas assets in Ghana and the United Arab Emirates. The two were reportedly discussing a purchase price near $4.5 billion. That report followed a similar one in June, where Bloomberg said the company was weighing the sale of its stake in oil and gas fields in Oman and other holdings in the Middle East. 

Now what

Occidental has a significant amount of debt maturing within the next two years. While it addressed some of that via a high-cost refinancing in June, a substantial amount remains. With the clock ticking, investors want to see action, since failure could force the company to restructure via bankruptcy if oil prices remain weak.