Washington, D.C.  20549

                               FORM 8-K

                            CURRENT REPORT

                Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the
                   Securities Exchange Act of 1934

Date of Report (Date of earliest event reported)    April 8, 2003

                     Berry Petroleum Company
      (Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware                     1-9735               77-0079387
(State or other           (Commission            IRS Employer
jurisdiction of           File Number)        Identification No.

       5201 Truxtun Avenue, Suite 300 Bakersfield, CA  93309
              (Address of principal executive offices)

Registrant's telephone number, including area code (661) 616-3900

(Former name or former address, if changed since last report)

1 Item 5. Other Events On April 8, 2003, Berry Petroleum Company, a Delaware corporation, issued a press release, a copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit 99.1 and is incorporated herein by reference. Item 7. Financial Statements, Proforma Financial Information and Exhibits (c) Exhibits 99.1 Press Release of Berry Petroleum Company dated April 8, 2003. SIGNATURE Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned thereunto duly authorized. BERRY PETROLEUM COMPANY By /s/ Kenneth A. Olson Name: Kenneth A. Olson Title: Corporate Secretary and Treasurer April 8, 2003


News Release
Berry Petroleum Company       Phone (661) 616-3900
5201 Truxtun Avenue, Suite 300 E-mail:
Bakersfield, California 93309-0640                  NYSE:BRY

Contacts:  Jerry V. Hoffman, Chairman, President & CEO
Ralph J. Goehring, Senior Vice President & CFO
April 8, 2003                     For Immediate Release


     Bakersfield,  California  - Berry Petroleum  Company  (NYSE:BRY)
today  announced  that its Board of Directors has  authorized  a  10%
increase  in  its quarterly dividend and a special dividend  of  $.04
per   share.  The  Company  has  approximately  21.8  million  shares
presently outstanding.

     The  special dividend of $.04 per share will be paid on  May  2,
2003  to  shareholders  of record on April  18,  2003.   The  regular
quarterly dividend is being increased by 10%, from $.10 to  $.11  per
share,  beginning with the June 2003 dividend and is payable on  June
27, 2003 to shareholders of record on June 12, 2003.

     Jerry  Hoffman, Chairman, President and Chief Executive  Officer
stated,  "We  believe  our  shares provide  an  excellent  investment
opportunity as we have delivered consistent strong rates of return on
equity,  with  a three year average of 18%, and on capital  employed,
with  a  three  year average of 21%.  The Company has  increased  its
earnings and revenues significantly in the last several years and the
Company  is anticipating another strong year in 2003.  These  results
have  enabled  the Company to return a portion of the increased  cash
flow  to  our shareholders in the form of a one-time special dividend
and  a dividend increase.  We continue to actively pursue acquisition
opportunities, and we believe this dividend increase will not  impact
our growth activities."

     Berry Petroleum Company is a publicly traded independent oil and
gas  production company with approximately 101.7 million  barrels  of
proved  reserves  at  year  end  2002 and  nearly  100  megawatts  of
electrical generating capacity.

"Safe  harbor under the Private Securities Litigation Reform  Act  of
1995:"  This  release  may  contain  descriptions  of  the  Company's
expectations  regarding future business activities.   These  forward-
looking  statements are made in reliance upon safe harbor  provisions
of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Accordingly,
actual  results may differ materially from those contemplated by  the
forward-looking statements.

                       Exhibit 99.1