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Fort Bend, TX Energy Sector Powers Economy

Learn how Fort Bend County, TX has postioned itself to capitalize on its location in the Houston metro, the undisputed Energy Capital of the World.

By Kevin Litwin on July 10, 2015

As the undisputed Energy Capital of the World, the Houston region is home to more than 3,700 energy-related enterprises. Many of them are clustered in Fort Bend County, where they thrive thanks to the pro-business environment and where employees enjoy an unsurpassed quality of life.

“It’s about virtuous circles. Attractive employers need attractive offices in attractive locations,” says Kristian Norheim Lindoe, an executive with DNV GL, a Norwegian company that supplies technical consulting services to the oil and gas and electric power industries. DNV GL maintains its headquarters for its North American and South American operations in Katy. That location has helped it expand operations and attract top employees.

“We are on the list of Houston’s best employers, and here we got a chance to build a LEED Gold certified building with open, flexible work spaces, coffee bars, a spacious lunch room, quiet rooms, wellness rooms, video conferencing and meeting rooms,” Lindoe says.

The company expanded into a larger space following the merger between DNV and GL Noble Denton in 2014. The company has 16,000 employees worldwide, with 2,100 working in 75 North American offices. The larger Katy offices have capacity for 700 workers.

Finding Energy Synergy

Stafford-based Cooper Valves also discovered the advantages of growing in Fort Bend County, including synergy with other nearby energy companies and the skilled workforce, says President Doug Jones.

“For our industry, there is a high concentration of manufacturers and distribution outlets in the Stafford area making it convenient for client visits. Additionally, Stafford offers favorable tax benefits for industrial inventories, providing incentives for locating here,” he says. Like DNV GL, Cooper Valves has expanded its operations in Fort Bend.

The company moved from a 10,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse and a separate office building into a 60,000-square-foot facility that combines its corporate headquarters, as well as a manufacturing shop and warehouse. Cooper Valves specializes in exotic alloy valves, serving the downstream and mid-stream chemical, petrochemical, oil and gas, water and refining industries. In Sugar Land, Fluor Corp. has 2,900 workers at its Fluor Enterprises office. The company is a global leader in engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction, maintenance and project management and has been a mainstay in Fort Bend since the 1980s. It has 40,000 employees in 81 countries.

Growing Energy Cluster

A number of other companies that supply the oil and gas industry have significant operations in the region. Schlumberger, the world’s largest oil field services and technology company, has operations in Sugar Land that employ 2,200 workers.

On its 240-acre campus, Schlumberger houses two technology centers where new products are created to make the discovery and production of hydrocarbons more efficient. Worldwide, the company employs approximately 120,000 people in more than 85 countries. In Stafford, OMB Valves designs and manufactures equipment for hydrocarbon and petrochemical processing plants, oil and gas offshore and onshore production and transportation, and the energy market. Team Industrial Services relocated to Sugar Land in 2012. The company provides specialized services related to the construction, maintenance, and monitoring of pressurized piping and associated systems.

Team has more than 130 U.S. and international locations. Pentair Valves and Controls, which has operations in Stafford, makes valves, actuators and controls for the oil and gas, power, mining, chemical, food and beverage, and the building and construction industries. Noble Drilling Services is a major offshore drilling contractor with its corporate offices in Fort Bend County. The company located its state-of-the-art training facility in the county in 2012.

The region’s high quality of life makes it easy to recruit talented workers, says DNV GL’s Lindoe. “Our office is a convenient and short commute for the majority of our employees. The quality of life in Katy, at least for families with kids in school, is attractive, particularly the quality of the public schools. Education is important for us, and 85 percent of the employees in DNV GL have a bachelor’s, master’s or Ph.D.-level degree,” Lindoe says. “Our employees also appreciate the diversity here, where many nationalities enjoy the opportunity to live, work, socialize and eat well,” Lindoe says.

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