Texas’s booming energy sector is visible throughout the state, but nowhere more so than in Victoria, where strong corporate development intersects with major natural resources to produce a robust local economy.
Caterpillar, Petrochemical Plants Expand Operations
Well-known national and international energy and related companies continue to call Victoria home, and they are being joined by an increasing number of new players. In 2012, the new, $150 million Caterpillar excavator plant will come online, a 600,000-square-foot facility that will create at least 500 new jobs. It joins Formosa Plastics Corp., which operates a production facility and support operation at a 1,600-acre petrochemical complex in Point Comfort; polymer and fiber producer INVISTA, which continues to expand its manufacturing facility in Victoria with both employees and operational capacity; and Dow’s Seadrift Operations, a 4,700-acre site with 11 plants representing the company’s global businesses.
Economic Development Key Focus for Victoria Officials
Recruiting, retaining and growing the petrochemical sector is a continuing mission for Victoria’s economic development officials. Happily, the area’s strong infrastructure, solid business climate and vast resources give them plenty to offer, says Dale Fowler, president of the Victoria Economic Development Corp.
“One of the things Caterpillar really likes about us is the diversity we have here,” Fowler says. “We are very heavily invested in petrochemical companies, but we aren’t tied too strongly to any one industry. Our medical industry is growing and has substantial ties to the hospital systems here, and our transportation advantages through highways, rail and waterways give us an advantage with many other industry sectors as well.”
Eagle Ford Shale Adds to Success
Victoria is also reaping the benefits of its proximity to the Eagle Ford Shale, a vast formation that is a hotspot for gas and oil developers and related businesses.
“The advancement of technology has allowed them to develop deep, horizontal drilling and fracking wells, so that industry has really changed,” Fowler says. “We’re centrally located along the northern half of the shale, and our community has enough amenities to support the people who are coming in for the various operations. We’re not doing a lot of the drilling here yet, but we’re a very strong destination for the companies coming in to do so, as well as all the people who are relocating to the area to work on the shale, or run the companies who are doing that work.”
Victoria is firing on all thrusters to capitalize on all this activity, and is succeeding because of well-laid plans that have been in place for years.
“We’re not just building these synergies now,” Fowler says. “Caterpillar was the result of a longtime community and business recruitment effort. We purchased and developed a business park so that we’d have available sites for industry. We have formed relationships over time in many different industries, and they help us close a lot of deals. And going forward, we’re working to make sure that these existing industries know that they can grow to their full potential here, and that we can develop other business parks and properties, such as land at the Port of Victoria, in such a way that different businesses can find a home here as well."
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