Houston may see 55,000 new jobs from energy boom

Updated: 2014-05-14 11:30

By May Zhou in Houston (China Daily USA)

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Houston faces a new export boom from its energy industries that will create more than 55,000 related jobs, according to a business research report.

Chemical plant expansions and liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal upgrades and export, coupled with the opening of Mexico's energy industry to foreign investment will spur the boom, according to the report.

Houston's Next Boom: Exporting Innovation, sponsored by HSBC and conducted by the Greater Houston Great Partnership (GHP), was released Monday at HSBC's Made For Trade Houston -Exporting American Innovation conference in Houston. Local business leaders and diplomats including Chinese Consul General Li Qiangmin attended the event.

HSBC Made For Trade is a national conversation with leaders in business, academia and government about the role of global trade in today's economy. Launched in March in Los Angeles, Houston was its first stop. It will make next stop in San Francisco in June before traveling to Chicago in July and culminating in Washington in October. Houston may see 55,000 new jobs from energy boom

Patrick Nolan, CEO of global banking and markets americas of HSBC, said Houston is a real growth place that makes a difference not only in the US but also for the world, and called it "absolutely the world class trade place".

Houston Mayor Annise Parker echoed Nolan's remarks and pointed out that besides oil and gas industry which is fueling the local economy, Houston also has a world-class medical center and a space complex. With one of every five Houston residents being foreign born, Houston is the most diverse city in the country, she said.

It was the first public event attended by Li Qiangmin since he assumed the position of Chinese Consul General in Houston about a week ago. He told China Daily that "my first impression is that Houston is a vibrant city. Innovation has stimulated Houston's development greatly and made Houston a leading economic force in the US. This provides a lot of opportunities for the interaction for the US and China. We will seize this opportunity to better expand bilateral relations."

The business research report cites innovations in technologies developed in Houston for deep-water drilling and hydraulic fracturing as the main reasons for the expected export surge in natural gas. The extraction methods are helping to dramatically increase shale gas and crude oil production, which in turn are prompting LNG terminal upgrades and chemical plants expansion.

According to the report authored by Patrick Jankowski, vice-president of GHP, LNG exports will mostly go to Europe and Asia, including China which has a high demand for gas.

During the discussion, Jankowski said the 55,000 jobs number is a conservative estimate based on a projected 15 percent increase in the growth sectors related to the energy industry, "but the potential could be greater", he said.

A CEO panel of Bob Harvey of GHP, Hermant Goradia of Vinmar International, John Magee of Crane Worldwide Logistics, Robert Robbins of Texas Medical Center and Cindy Taylor of Oil States International, discussed how to incorporate innovation to fuel Houston's economic development.


(China Daily USA 05/14/2014 page2)