Two of the nation's biggest oil companies reported sharply lower first-quarter profits yesterday.

Texaco Inc., the nation's third-largest oil company, said its profits fell 44 percent from a year earlier because of weak demand for oil products and the high cost of crude oil it buys under contract from Saudi Arabia and other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Occidental Petroleum Corp., the country's 13th-largest oil company, said its earnings plunged 76 percent, partly reflecting its inflated results of a year earlier due to several special circumstances.

Texaco profits dropped to $367 million ($1.41 a share) from $658 million ($2.45) in the first quarter of 1981. Revenues slipped to $13 billion from $15.5 billion.

Occidental said its earnings fell to $62.1 million (42 cents) from $255.5 million ($3.10) although revenues rose to $4.2 billion from $3.4 billion.

Occidental reported mixed results in its oil and natural gas operations and said coal profits were more than four times higher than a year ago. Its Iowa Beef Processors unit acquired last August posted a profit of $35 million.

Occidental's year-ago results were inflated by $65 million from selling an oil field, a one-time revaluation of domestic crude oil inventories amounting to about $40 million and other special circumstances.

Safeway Stores Inc., citing losses from foreign currency translations, said yesterday that its first-quarter profits fell 17 percent on an 11 percent increase in sales.

Net income was $16 million (61 cents a share) compared with $19.3 million (74 cents) a year ago. Sales increased to $3.98 billion from $3.58 billion.

Trans World Airlines reported a pretax loss of $110.3 million compared with a $71.8 millon first-quarter loss a year ago. That produced a net loss of $102.7 million for Trans World Corp., whose other holdings include Century 21 real estate, Hilton International and food services. The holding company had reported a $57.5 million net loss in the 1981 first quarter.

TWA Corp. Chairman L. Edwin Smart said profits from the hotel, food service and real estate businesses were more than offset by the airline's loss.