Odessa (ōdĕsˈə) [key], city (1990 pop. 89,699), seat of Ector co., W Tex.; founded 1881, inc. 1927. Great oil deposits just to the south changed Odessa from a small ranch town into a large and growing oil center with refineries and plants that produce fuels, carbon black, chemicals, plastics, synthetic rubber, industrial gas, and machinery. The region is underlaid with potash, salt, and limestone deposits. The Univ. of Texas of the Permian Basin is in the city.