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Maybe if you guys weren't up all night posting on HAIF the economy would be doing better. tired workers are inefficient workers.

I'm sorry, I've been trying to keep my mouth shut for several days now but there is just too much misinformation to move on. HTXUSA, not sure whether you are a troll or whether you believe what you're

Are you hoping for a drastic downturn so you can afford to move out of your parents house?  

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Bp, shell, Halliburton, ConocoPhillips, Apache announce layoffs

Yeah.  And oil "rebounded" to $53 so far today...  Consider that these companies were hugely successful with oil at the price it has been just a decade or so ago and it makes you wonder.

 

From what I've read the first cuts are coming from points in the Middle East...then moving west as needed?

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Yeah. And oil "rebounded" to $53 so far today... Consider that these companies were hugely successful with oil at the price it has been just a decade or so ago and it makes you wonder.

From what I've read the first cuts are coming from points in the Middle East...then moving west as needed?

I'm not sure about the distribution as far as location. But yea makes you wonder about the infrastructure if it's totally dependent on price what are so many extra jobs for then?

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Low oil prices were correlated with record housing starts in the mid '00s. Why wouldn't this drop in oil be correlated the same way? Fundamentals are favorable for housing to continue growth.

Except once people start falling behind on mortgages and losing their homes

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Yeah only cause lots of employees, especially long time managers are leaving for greener pastures.

 

Starbucks used to be viewed as a decent place to work, but it's so corporate and cold now. People who were there back when it was about making coffee and not just pushing buttons on an automated machine are all leaving if they can.

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I still find it hard to believe that companies that made billions of dollars at $35 - 40 oil, are so strapped for cash now?!  I understand oil platforms in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico are really costly!  I also understand that paying roughnecks with zero skills/zero education $100,000+ is so far beyond sanity that there is not a word around to describe it (I realize I'm generalizing a tad...but oil/gas has some crazy salaries for crazy positions that other industries seem to have figured out better).

 

Of course if I had *just* graduated from college and was making what some of these inexperienced, wet-between-the-ears 20somethings are making I guess I'd expect my company to have a hard time moving forward when there is a sudden (and not like its the first time) bump in the road.  That, and how absurd that these same companies grew like they did and overproduced oil so quickly!?  And all during the wanning moments of a global recession that forced millions out of work nationally and globally - and nearly broke some countries (Greece, Spain etc.)!  How absurd.  Oil/Gas is its own worst enemy!

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I still find it hard to believe that companies that made billions of dollars at $35 - 40 oil, are so strapped for cash now?

 

That's not the problem. If business activity is not profitable it stops. It doesn't matter how much money you have. Would you spend it to get oil out of the ground at a loss. Why would these companies throw their money away? They have an obligation to their shareholders not to do that. 

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That's not the problem. If business activity is not profitable it stops. It doesn't matter how much money you have. Would you spend it to get oil out of the ground at a loss. Why would these companies throw their money away? They have an obligation to their shareholders not to do that. 

 

My point was:  Why increase your expenses beyond the national inflation rate?  Oil and Gas companies seem to do this gleefully.  When that happens, whenever there is a downturn then they suffer because they've not saved enough money for a rainy day.  My Dad has decades of experience and he thought the starting salaries for new employees at oil/gas companies was just crazy.  His exact words were "I hope they enjoy it while it lasts"

 

Why would any profession put such huge profit margins on working in said profession?  Pay those who got you there well.  Pay the rest a reasonable amount and they'll still be happy.  In my experience you only pay people who you *REALLY* want absurd money.  Average architects with 20 years experience make less money than oil/gas newly hired workers, and we have more schooling and require a more stringent set of licensing standards.  If architectural firms nationally saw a 100% increase in profits I'll wager wages would increase, but not two-fold, three-fold etc?!

 

Oil and gas companies have socked away money - and yes they take a lot to make money as the infrastructure is outrageously expensive - but still common sense dictates that you don't overpay people.  Other industries by-and-large do not.

 

Would you rather 1) work at a company getting paid a decent amount of money knowing that they won't have to lay off anyone during a major recession and you have great job security?  Or 2) work at a company getting paid gobs of money knowing that you'll probably get laid off at the first hint of trouble and then have issues getting new work because you're a part of 10,000 other people just like you?

I'll take number 1 please.  I'd rather toil along for years and save my own money never really having to worry about my job than make 2-3 years worth of money in 1 year and then worry that I'll probably end up out of work for 2-3 years.

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My point was:  Why increase your expenses beyond the national inflation rate?  Oil and Gas companies seem to do this gleefully.  When that happens, whenever there is a downturn then they suffer because they've not saved enough money for a rainy day.  My Dad has decades of experience and he thought the starting salaries for new employees at oil/gas companies was just crazy.  His exact words were "I hope they enjoy it while it lasts"

 

Why would any profession put such huge profit margins on working in said profession?  Pay those who got you there well.  Pay the rest a reasonable amount and they'll still be happy.  In my experience you only pay people who you *REALLY* want absurd money.  Average architects with 20 years experience make less money than oil/gas newly hired workers, and we have more schooling and require a more stringent set of licensing standards.  If architectural firms nationally saw a 100% increase in profits I'll wager wages would increase, but not two-fold, three-fold etc?!

 

Oil and gas companies have socked away money - and yes they take a lot to make money as the infrastructure is outrageously expensive - but still common sense dictates that you don't overpay people.  Other industries by-and-large do not.

 

Would you rather 1) work at a company getting paid a decent amount of money knowing that they won't have to lay off anyone during a major recession and you have great job security?  Or 2) work at a company getting paid gobs of money knowing that you'll probably get laid off at the first hint of trouble and then have issues getting new work because you're a part of 10,000 other people just like you?

I'll take number 1 please.  I'd rather toil along for years and save my own money never really having to worry about my job than make 2-3 years worth of money in 1 year and then worry that I'll probably end up out of work for 2-3 years.

 

The oil and gas industry does not overpay people. They pay what is necessary to get the people they need. This is basic economics. I will admit that part of the reason that we have to pay so much money is because of a lack of skilled labor that is caused by the boom and bust cycle. If you can find me people that can do the job I need for less than I'm paying now I'll be glad to hire them. The only way we've been able to find people that will work for less is to go to India. 

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The oil and gas industry does not overpay people. They pay what is necessary to get the people they need. This is basic economics. I will admit that part of the reason that we have to pay so much money is because of a lack of skilled labor that is caused by the boom and bust cycle. If you can find me people that can do the job I need for less than I'm paying now I'll be glad to hire them. The only way we've been able to find people that will work for less is to go to India. 

 

Its a vicious cycle of overpaying people that the oil/gas industry started.  Now you're forced to pay more than what person XYZ is qualified - or - should make.  Why?  Because that's what its always been.

 

I have a friend who was paid in excess of $85,000 a year fresh out of A&M working with a degree that was suspect (some quasi-engineering degree without the ability to become an actual engineer).  Now - that's great money for a starting position!  Oil/gas could have offered same person a much lower starting salary and he/she would have taken the job.

 

It absolutely overpays people!

 

I don't work in the oil/gas industry - but my Father has since the 1960s... his wisdom is that oil and gas companies overinvest in their employees (particularly new hires/first time job types).

 

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My point was:  Why increase your expenses beyond the national inflation rate?  Oil and Gas companies seem to do this gleefully.  When that happens, whenever there is a downturn then they suffer because they've not saved enough money for a rainy day.  My Dad has decades of experience and he thought the starting salaries for new employees at oil/gas companies was just crazy.  His exact words were "I hope they enjoy it while it lasts"

 

Why would any profession put such huge profit margins on working in said profession?  Pay those who got you there well.  Pay the rest a reasonable amount and they'll still be happy.  In my experience you only pay people who you *REALLY* want absurd money.  Average architects with 20 years experience make less money than oil/gas newly hired workers, and we have more schooling and require a more stringent set of licensing standards.  If architectural firms nationally saw a 100% increase in profits I'll wager wages would increase, but not two-fold, three-fold etc?!

 

Oil and gas companies have socked away money - and yes they take a lot to make money as the infrastructure is outrageously expensive - but still common sense dictates that you don't overpay people.  Other industries by-and-large do not.

 

Would you rather 1) work at a company getting paid a decent amount of money knowing that they won't have to lay off anyone during a major recession and you have great job security?  Or 2) work at a company getting paid gobs of money knowing that you'll probably get laid off at the first hint of trouble and then have issues getting new work because you're a part of 10,000 other people just like you?

I'll take number 1 please.  I'd rather toil along for years and save my own money never really having to worry about my job than make 2-3 years worth of money in 1 year and then worry that I'll probably end up out of work for 2-3 years.

 

Well, it's not people's wages that are making drilling not profitable under $70/bbl. it's the effort it takes to drill the wells.

 

Say a given well can supply you with 100bbl of oil (absurdly low, but good for math reasons). Let's also say that it will cost a person $500 to get all 100bbl out of the well. So the cost to produce that well is $5/bbl. if oil is selling at $4/bbl and you know the deposit of oil exists, are you going to pay the $500 to have someone extract that 100bbl so you can then make a grand total of $400 (that's a net loss of $100)? No, you will not hire someone to come and drill, if you had hired someone to drill, and they were scheduled to come and drill next year, you would cancel. This is exactly what is happening now.

 

So to answer your question easily, the costs to produce oil have gone up so high that no, these companies cannot operate when prices dip.

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And why are costs so high?  What is driving the costs upward?  What is typically one of the biggest expenses of any company?  I still maintain that oil/gas companies are their own worst enemies.  But people in the oil and gas industry don't want to hear it - face it you guys work in a highly-highly flawed and screwed up profession.  You damage yourselves every 8-12 years

 

And my other point....  Why over produce?  Why shoot yourself in the foot?  US Oil companies are responsible (at least partly) for the most recent price slump due to the overproduction.

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Its a vicious cycle of overpaying people that the oil/gas industry started.  Now you're forced to pay more than what person XYZ is qualified - or - should make.  Why?  Because that's what its always been.

 

I have a friend who was paid in excess of $85,000 a year fresh out of A&M working with a degree that was suspect (some quasi-engineering degree without the ability to become an actual engineer).  Now - that's great money for a starting position!  Oil/gas could have offered same person a much lower starting salary and he/she would have taken the job.

 

It absolutely overpays people!

 

I don't work in the oil/gas industry - but my Father has since the 1960s... his wisdom is that oil and gas companies overinvest in their employees (particularly new hires/first time job types).

 

 

When the demand outstrips the supply, the price will go up.

 

It's well known that actual engineers are in very high demand, not just in oil/gas, but not many kids say "I want to be an engineer" when they go to college, they want underwater basket weaving, or a MBA. Hell, the classes are harder to become an engineer, so kids won't want to do it.

 

There is a well documented low supply of engineering graduates, so companies are going to pay for actual engineers. I bet that the engineers are likely going to be the ones not losing their jobs, at least not in the first round of lay offs, and if they are going to lose their jobs, the company was probably looking for a way to get rid of them anyway.

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And why are costs so high?  What is driving the costs upward?  What is typically one of the biggest expenses of any company?  I still maintain that oil/gas companies are their own worst enemies.  But people in the oil and gas industry don't want to hear it - face it you guys work in a highly-highly flawed and screwed up profession.  You damage yourselves every 8-12 years

 

And my other point....  Why over produce?  Why shoot yourself in the foot?  US Oil companies are responsible (at least partly) for the most recent price slump due to the overproduction.

when there is no more 'easy' oil, you have to go deeper.

 

to go deeper it costs exponentially more money.

 

the sediment is hotter and harder, so it takes longer, you have to use more sophisticated equipment, you have to find a way to keep the well from collapsing thanks to pressure.

 

the costs to produce are so high because it actually is that much harder to access.

 

back when oil was first being drilled it was literally 50 feet below the surface.

 

back in the 60s they were drilling a few hundred yards.

 

now they are drilling thousands are yards.

 

rather than the oil sitting in a large cavern, it is actually part of the rock. 

 

Here's an article:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cost-of-offshore-drilling-rising-as-fast-as-oil-prices/

 

that was written in 2008. but it gives you a good idea what prices are like just to rent the rig per day. that doesn't include finding the well, that doesn't include building the pipe to extract the oil from the well, none of that, just the cost of the rig to drill.

 

paying an engineer $100k a year instead of $80k a year is pretty low on the ledger of overhead when you consider all the costs involved in extracting oil from the ground.

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when there is no more 'easy' oil, you have to go deeper.

 

to go deeper it costs exponentially more money.

 

the sediment is hotter and harder, so it takes longer, you have to use more sophisticated equipment, you have to find a way to keep the well from collapsing thanks to pressure.

 

the costs to produce are so high because it actually is that much harder to access.

 

back when oil was first being drilled it was literally 50 feet below the surface.

 

back in the 60s they were drilling a few hundred yards.

 

now they are drilling thousands are yards.

 

rather than the oil sitting in a large cavern, it is actually part of the rock. 

 

Here's an article:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cost-of-offshore-drilling-rising-as-fast-as-oil-prices/

 

that was written in 2008. but it gives you a good idea what prices are like just to rent the rig per day. that doesn't include finding the well, that doesn't include building the pipe to extract the oil from the well, none of that, just the cost of the rig to drill.

 

paying an engineer $100k a year instead of $80k a year is pretty low on the ledger of overhead when you consider all the costs involved in extracting oil from the ground.

 

So if people aren't really that expensive - to an oil company - why terminate so many jobs so soon?  Why is that the "go-to" for companies (in this case) oil and gas exploration/field service companies?  If they have so much inventory, so many rigs and trucks and whatnot... why then cut jobs that really (according to you) do little in the way of damage to the pocket books of oil/gas companies?

 

Don't lecture me on the econmics of oil/gas - I understand that it is expensive!  I'm not arguing we should stop drilling, or cease using oil - far from it.  I understand 1 single oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico costs as much (if not more) than the proposed 50-55 floor Chevron Corporate Building that's been shelved over near the old Enron campus.

 

Then how do you explain "Industrial Distributers" (which is a quasi-engineer-like degree) there are?  And better still - how do you explain a recent (as in past few months) graduate making nearly 100,000?  I understand a 8-10+ graduate with experience making that sort of money.

 

I'll add:  I understand why companies fire people...er...lay the off.  I do.  I just don't quite understand how - the worlds most powerful and wealthy industry - cannot figure out a way to better shield itself from energy slumps.  That is my gripe.

 

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So if people aren't really that expensive - to an oil company - why terminate so many jobs so soon?  Why is that the "go-to" for companies (in this case) oil and gas exploration/field service companies?  If they have so much inventory, so many rigs and trucks and whatnot... why then cut jobs that really (according to you) do little in the way of damage to the pocket books of oil/gas companies?

 

Don't lecture me on the econmics of oil/gas - I understand that it is expensive!  I'm not arguing we should stop drilling, or cease using oil - far from it.  I understand 1 single oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico costs as much (if not more) than the proposed 50-55 floor Chevron Corporate Building that's been shelved over near the old Enron campus.

 

Then how do you explaine "Industrial Distributers" (which is a quasi-engineer-like degree) there are?  And better still - how do you explain a recent (as in past few months) graduate making nearly 100,000?  I understand a 8-10+ graduate with experience making that sort of money.

 

 

what kind of jobs are they letting go of?

 

roughnecks that would be manning the rigs, or engineers that develop the processes?

 

I don't have a way of knowing who is laying off what, other than the few thousand that slick keeps referencing without any context. My gut tells me they are laying off the labor force that would be working the rigs or otherwise would be directly related to the actual production, not the engineers.

 

My gut tells me that most of these companies are continuing to invest in engineering so they can continue finding ways to make the actual process more efficient so that they can start making profit drilling at $65 instead of $70. 

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I'll add:  I understand why companies fire people...er...lay the off.  I do.  I just don't quite understand how - the worlds most powerful and wealthy industry - cannot figure out a way to better shield itself from energy slumps.  That is my gripe.

 

 

I'm not a studied economist, so my opinion isn't worth much, but it's because of investors.

 

margins need to be high, and profits need to be high, and year over year growth needs to be high. otherwise you will lose investors.

 

as far as the point about fresh engineers making 100k right out of college, as I said, there's a supply issue, demand is high enough to warrant that. it's not just oil and gas that creates that demand. everyone wants engineers, and no one wants to become and engineer.

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I'm not a studied economist, so my opinion isn't worth much, but it's because of investors.

 

margins need to be high, and profits need to be high, and year over year growth needs to be high. otherwise you will lose investors.

 

as far as the point about fresh engineers making 100k right out of college, as I said, there's a supply issue, demand is high enough to warrant that. it's not just oil and gas that creates that demand. everyone wants engineers, and no one wants to become and engineer.

 

Apparently there isn't quite as high of a demand as previously thought of... Forbes and a few other publications spell it out (I'm way too lazy to post them right now).  There is perception that engineers are wanted everywhere.  Houston supposedly has the highest concentration of them anywhere in the US?  I think we have the highest concentration of "engineer-like" degrees, not engineers themselves.  I'll wager LA and NYC by virtue of having more people have more engineers?  But that's me being obstinate.

 

That said: I fully expect engineers/geologists/phyicistsphysicists/others with degrees get let go with this round of layoffs.  Roughnecks and roundabouts (and whatnot) will also (or already do) find themselves laid off.  The bigger issue is why, and why so suddenly?  I still maintain that oil/gas companies have failed to properly protect themselves from something like this.  I mean we're not talking about an alternative energy source discovered overnight - we're talking about overproduction - years of it!  And there were/are people sitting high up in offices atop towers that said it would happen and did nothing.

 

That's my issue.  And in 10 years it will repeat.  Only in Oil/Gas does this seem to happen again..and again...and again...and again...and again...and again...

 

*I can't spell for a durn today!*

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what kind of jobs are they letting go of?

roughnecks that would be manning the rigs, or engineers that develop the processes?

I don't have a way of knowing who is laying off what, other than the few thousand that slick keeps referencing without any context. My gut tells me they are laying off the labor force that would be working the rigs or otherwise would be directly related to the actual production, not the engineers.

My gut tells me that most of these companies are continuing to invest in engineering so they can continue finding ways to make the actual process more efficient so that they can start making profit drilling at $65 instead of $70.

Jobs are pretty much slashed across the board regardless of educational qualifications in these situations

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Oil appears to be up again today. WTI is over $53 a barrel. It means gas at the pump is starting to move back over $2 a gallon. Oh, well, it was a fun party while it lasted. Now, can someone tell this to the banks that just redlined Houston?

Also today, Citi analysts, if I recall, called this a "head fake" and are suggesting oil at $20-ish per barrel this fall.....

OPEC suggested today that demand this year is actually going to be 400,000 BPD more than estimated last fall.

The only thing that is certain is uncertainty and that will keep the "redline" in place for now.

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Apparently there isn't quite as high of a demand as previously thought of... Forbes and a few other publications spell it out (I'm way too lazy to post them right now).  There is perception that engineers are wanted everywhere.  Houston supposedly has the highest concentration of them anywhere in the US?  I think we have the highest concentration of "engineer-like" degrees, not engineers themselves.  I'll wager LA and NYC by virtue of having more people have more engineers?  But that's me being obstinate.

 

That said: I fully expect engineers/geologists/phyicistsphysicists/others with degrees get let go with this round of layoffs.  Roughnecks and roundabouts (and whatnot) will also (or already do) find themselves laid off.  The bigger issue is why, and why so suddenly?  I still maintain that oil/gas companies have failed to properly protect themselves from something like this.  I mean we're not talking about an alternative energy source discovered overnight - we're talking about overproduction - years of it!  And there were/are people sitting high up in offices atop towers that said it would happen and did nothing.

 

That's my issue.  And in 10 years it will repeat.  Only in Oil/Gas does this seem to happen again..and again...and again...and again...and again...and again...

 

*I can't spell for a durn today!*

 

In 10 years there will be a new crop of top managers in place.  When they see profits and bonuses go through the roof, they push it harder to make more for investors and themselves.  Frequently, they are near the end of their careers and can take a cushy retirement when things eventually go south.  Short-term management thinking was old news back the '80's when I was in business school.

 

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That said: I fully expect engineers/geologists/phyicistsphysicists/others with degrees get let go with this round of layoffs.  Roughnecks and roundabouts (and whatnot) will also (or already do) find themselves laid off.  The bigger issue is why, and why so suddenly?  I still maintain that oil/gas companies have failed to properly protect themselves from something like this.  I mean we're not talking about an alternative energy source discovered overnight - we're talking about overproduction - years of it!  And there were/are people sitting high up in offices atop towers that said it would happen and did nothing.

 

That's my issue.  And in 10 years it will repeat.  Only in Oil/Gas does this seem to happen again..and again...and again...and again...and again...and again...

 

*I can't spell for a durn today!*

 

A lot of that is driven by the nature of asset acquisition. A company goes out and leases as much acreage as possible, because if they don't it won't be available later. Those leases have terms that require work be done with in a relatively short time, so enough personnel to accomplish that work have to be hired. If discoveries are made, then drilling starts in earnest, and rigs are hired, pipelines built, etc. This continues until all acreage possible is tied up with production. Once the acreage is held by production, any economic burp that causes prices to drop makes it possible for the companies to drop many of the personnel they had hired.

 

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As in the case of my company, I suspect that some of those invisible layoffs of individual "contractors" are the result of their employers (e.g., CSC) not getting their contracts renewed.  Employees of competing firms (perhaps even the same individuals, in some cases) are filling the jobs that replace them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Article in chronicle today highlights the fact that 22.5% of houstonians live under the poverty line. That's what nobody talks about.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Two-faces-6101793.php

 

Sadly - quite a few Americans in general live below the poverty line.  14.5% nationally.

https://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/about/overview/

 

This is abosultely a huge problem for this region.  Imagine if this slowdown lasts longer than 1-2 years.... I've long worried what might push Houston to be the "next" Detroit, I think a huge slowdown in the largest employment sector + recent surge in population (with a lot of poverty stricken folks among them) would be a step.

 

This is a great reason we need to further diversify the economy.  Poverty will only get worse!

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Look at population numbers for Detroit since 1950 when they peaked. They have been steadily declining from nearly 2,000,000 to under 1,000,000. 

 

So unless all the people who can afford to move up and leave all the people who can't move, Houston won't become Detroit.

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Detroit proper peaked before Wayne County (1970), peaked before the Wayne-Oakland-Macomb core counties population (2000), while the metro with exurban counties still haven't peaked.  So, not to dispute your original point, even if Houston does become Detroit it will take generations to come down the pike.

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The only way we could turn into Detroit would be an even greater slump in the oil prices, and if the whole world went to electric or fusion transportation. Also if plastics were banned world wide.

 

That's sort of oversimplifying things isn't it?  I mean we actually increased our consumption of automobiles every decade since their inception and yet the auto industry (largely based in Detroit) tanked that city when foreign competition+recession+failed housing/civic policies (which contributed to poverty) all came together.

 

Houston would really suffer if non-fossil fuel based energy alternatives became the norm even in just the US, but plastics production alone wouldn't keep Houston's "fossil fuel based companies" afloat.  Far from it I'd wager.

 

Look, I'm not saying we're the very next Detroit - I'm just saying I think if we don't make efforts in the next 20 years to "right the ship" so to speak we're going to enter into some unfortunately rough waters ahead when oil is challenged by all sorts of issues.

 

Kind'a like New Orleans clinging to Cotton too long.  Yeah, people still wear clothes made of it more than any other time in history... but.  Well.

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Who knows?  Why?

 

I rambled in my previous post (as I tend to do) but the point remains that Houston needs to further diversify the economy - no reason we should have a slump while the rest of the economy (nationally) starts to really ramp up.  Eventually there will be lesser need for oil/fossil fuels.  Maybe not till 2100?  Maybe beyond?  But then again in 1915 could anyone have predicted that by 1945 we would have discovered nuclear power?  Or that by the 1960s flying jets across oceans without trouble?  And who in 1960 would have been able to even remotely imagine the internet, and to a further extent: Google?  No one.  Time marches on...

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