Another in a series of posts about some of the good things coming from our industry, which benefit society and our world as a whole. We previously blogged about how clean, affordable natural gas is a key contributor to the resurgence in manufacturing growth in the United States. Also not to be overlooked is the impact the boom in oil and gas is having on the construction and real estate markets – resulting from both hydraulic fracturing in the major US Shale Basin, and the emergence of fantastic sub-sea capabilities in the Gulf of Mexico. Nowhere is this real estate growth more apparent than the Houston area. In a recent edition of RigZone, entitled Build Baby, Build real estate services firm CBRE Group Inc. was quoted as saying there are some 56 office buildings totaling at least 11 million square feet under construction in and around Houston. “Houston is booming and bar none the strongest market in the United States of America,” says Joseph Sitt, Chief Executive of Thor Equities, in the RigZone article. Anyone who has driven in Houston recently knows the truth in that. Driving south on I-45 just below The Woodlands, motorists are greeted with an array of construction cranes for the Exxon Mobil campus. The view is similar to what Shenzhen, China looked like during the mid-1990’s. My most recent count was no less than 17 cranes.
The frenetic commercial construction activity isn’t limited to Exxon Mobil. From personal observations:
- Both GE Oil & Gas and Halliburton’s adjacent campuses near Houston Intercontinental and BP’s Westlake campus are sites of extensive construction. In fact, on a recent visit to Halliburton, my host had to guide me in the back way because there are so many traffic obstructions.
- The number of support establishments is growing as well, including a significant number of new hotels in the Petrochemical corridor southeast of Houston.
- Beltway 8 now contains a Who’s Who of the oil and gas business, with new construction sprouting up everywhere.
It’s more than commercial real estate and construction where the positive impact is being felt. In The Woodlands, north of Houston, I recently ran into Brandy Snipp, a former colleague from the M2M and Asset Tracking business, who is now a successful Houston-based realtor. Brandy commented that – between the new wave of O&G-related office buildings and the decisions of companies like Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Halliburton to relocate more employees back to Houston – there is a shortage of quality homes for O&G execs. That shortage is driving new home construction, and resulting in a flurry of sales of existing homes. Brandy said: “I’m sure benefitting from the energy resurgence, and I’m glad to do my part – by making relocations painless for new Houstonians – in paving the way for even more domestic production of oil and gas.” It’s hard to estimate the number of jobs in real estate and construction that have resulted from growth in oil and gas, but it’s clearly a very big number, and something our industry should take pride in.