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mattyt36

Future Conversions of Postwar Class B Office Space

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I think this is the appropriate forum to post this question is ...

 

When I was in Dallas several months ago I was surprised to see how many former office buildings had been converted to residential or hotels. Republic Center, The Drever, The Merc, One Dallas Center—I’m sure there are several more.

 

Is there any speculation that this could happen in Downtown Houston as well as the market sorts itself out with all of the vacant space and new Class A+ towers? 

 

800 Bell seems like such a distinctive tower for this sort of redevelopment, but there are several other examples ... 4 Houston Center also comes to mind.

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I guess silence implies no one thinks it's possible!

 

So from the recent HBJ Office Leasing Guide, here are downtown buildings with vacancy in the neighborhood of 50%:

 

800 Bell (Exxon) / 1,314,350 sq ft / 100% vacant

 

1600 Smith (Continental) / 1,098,399 sq ft / 46% vacant

 

GreenStreet (just NRG or also retail?) / 656,994 sq ft / 47% vacant

 

811 Louisiana (Two Shell Plaza) / 577,735 sq ft / 47% vacant

 

4 Houston Center (above The Park) / 674,246 sq ft / 40% vacant

 

1415 Louisiana St (Wedge) / 536,626 sq ft / 57% vacant

 

Esperson / 298,513 sq ft / 60% vacant

 

1010 Lamar (Younan) / 258,776 sq ft / 46% vacant

 

Anyone have comparables for square footage of Le Meridien and JW Marriott?

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I would be a smidge surprised to see a building like 1600 Smith get converted... Then again, while I sat in traffic on my evening commute I couldn’t help but think that both 1600 Smith and Republic Tower (sorry - can’t recall its current designation) would provide interesting upper floor conversions into hospitality projects.  Both are big enough to provide a lobby space in the main lobby area as well.  Only logistical issues would be: elevator access (not sure if a sky lobby is involved), and possibly amenity space (pool, meeting areas) etc.  It could be done.

 

Esperson is destined to become either hotel or condominium.  I just feel it in it’s future.

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29 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

Esperson / 298,513 sq ft /

 

 

This could be a pretty decent hotel.  200~250rooms, and some nice banquet spaces?

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Dallas has had so many conversions because their office rent level is so low and vacancy has been so high for so long that owners figure they might as well. Houston landlords still find it in their best interest to wait a few years for occupancies to go back up.

 

In a perfect world, the lower levels of Class B office buildings would be converted into parking (this happened with the old Bank of the Southwest building on Travis), allowing some of our parking garages to be torn down. But it will require even higher land values than we have now for parking garages to be torn down. It's happening on Block 42 because that is premium land.

 

Agree with arche on Esperson.

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So it seems Dallas’ low rents and high vacancies are working in their favor. I would much rather have residential and hotel conversions of older buildings than have properties sit vacant for years waiting for the market to turn. 

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1 hour ago, Jbarn said:

So it seems Dallas’ low rents and high vacancies are working in their favor. I would much rather have residential and hotel conversions of older buildings than have properties sit vacant for years waiting for the market to turn. 

 

To be fair, the buildings in Dallas sat vacant for decades before they were converted.  And they still have higher office vacancy downtown than Houston.  

 

Plus, everyone seems to be ignoring the fact that we've had a number of conversions as well. (The Star, JW Marrriott, The Icon, Bayou Lofts, Franklin Lofts, le Meridian, Westin Hotel, Hyatt Place, AC hotel, Humble Building hotels... 

Edited by Houston19514
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Icon, Humble Building, Franklin, Rice and Bayou lofts we’re converted in some cases 20 years ago.  You are correct, however are those Class B?  I think most of those qualify as historical buildings (to be obvious).  I’m glad this is happening (or will), and I’m glad the historic properties are finding new life.

Edited by arche_787

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Apologies, I’m not trying to short-change the conversions that have happened.

 

An underlying trend in what I’ve been reading is that we’re probably at an inflection point with a significant chunk of real estate probably not being competitive anymore and way beyond any sort of economical conversion to be competitive ... hence why new generation Class A+ buildings are being delivered (and financed! An important sign!) despite the historic (in a generation) vacancy.

 

There aren’t many prewar buildings left for conversion out there but there’s a good amount of square footage built in the 1960s and 1970s that probably won’t be competitive in the long term ... we’re talking about 50+-year old buildings here. 

 

So what becomes of them? Do people really think that there’s going to be a demand for office space (as the downtown market thinks about it now) that could fill these buildings in the next peak of the business cycle (which we’re admittedly probably already in)? Does a whole new class of tenant come in? Do they stand vacant for a long time like the Le Meridien? Do they get demolished to become a parking lot? Or do they get converted?

 

There is a heck of a lot of vacancy still in downtown now (many in buildings that no on here thinks of much) ... props to Brookfield for getting some major relos (although net zero from other parts of the City) ... do people really think that gets filled organically?

 

I fear unless there are several repurposing projects we’re destined for another generation of demolition and parking lots.

 

800 Bell is probably the biggest symbol in my mind ... I love that building and don’t think it needs any sort of facelift. It could be a signature conversion.

 

Anyway, thanks for the feedback.

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800 Bell is so huge, getting it redeployed in any manner is going to cost large dollars, which I guess is why the Shorenstein (sp?) proposal looked like one you would see in new construction.   If it sits neglected long enough for the shades to start deteriorating, it's going to look like absolute hell. 

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Speaking of 800 Bell, what's up with the renovation plans? It still appears on the Downtown Houston Development Map:

https://www.downtownhouston.org/development/project/800-bell-redevelopment/

 

I'm guessing it has been delayed indefinitely since there is no estimated start date. While the building's current design looks adequate, I'm sure they could attract tenants with a spiffy exterior overhaul. 

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11 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

Apologies, I’m not trying to short-change the conversions that have happened.

 

An underlying trend in what I’ve been reading is that we’re probably at an inflection point with a significant chunk of real estate probably not being competitive anymore and way beyond any sort of economical conversion to be competitive ... hence why new generation Class A+ buildings are being delivered (and financed! An important sign!) despite the historic (in a generation) vacancy.

 

There aren’t many prewar buildings left for conversion out there but there’s a good amount of square footage built in the 1960s and 1970s that probably won’t be competitive in the long term ... we’re talking about 50+-year old buildings here. 

 

So what becomes of them? Do people really think that there’s going to be a demand for office space (as the downtown market thinks about it now) that could fill these buildings in the next peak of the business cycle (which we’re admittedly probably already in)? Does a whole new class of tenant come in? Do they stand vacant for a long time like the Le Meridien? Do they get demolished to become a parking lot? Or do they get converted?

 

There is a heck of a lot of vacancy still in downtown now (many in buildings that no on here thinks of much) ... props to Brookfield for getting some major relos (although net zero from other parts of the City) ... do people really think that gets filled organically?

 

I fear unless there are several repurposing projects we’re destined for another generation of demolition and parking lots.

 

800 Bell is probably the biggest symbol in my mind ... I love that building and don’t think it needs any sort of facelift. It could be a signature conversion.

 

Anyway, thanks for the feedback.

 

A few thoughts. The older Class A office buildings that are struggling with occupancy and about to become Class B are not going to be demolished, they are too big and substantial. I don't think we're at the peak of an office cycle, still in a trough. There have been moves to downtown from other parts of the city - a big tenant in Greenway Plaza just signed at Houston Center.

 

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1 hour ago, CaptainJilliams said:

Speaking of 800 Bell, what's up with the renovation plans? It still appears on the Downtown Houston Development Map:

https://www.downtownhouston.org/development/project/800-bell-redevelopment/

 

I'm guessing it has been delayed indefinitely since there is no estimated start date. While the building's current design looks adequate, I'm sure they could attract tenants with a spiffy exterior overhaul. 

 

They are hoping to find a large tenant to commence the renovation. My guess is they are eyeing Chevron as a possible white knight, either to lease or just buy it outright. There is not enough market for downtown Class B office space to attempt to lease the building as-is. A precedent for this would be the conversion to residential of the RepublicBank tower in Dallas.

 

I think as the downtown retail, residential, and nightlife scene continues to take off and companies shift from baby-boomers in management to millennials, more and more tenants will be drawn in from other parts of the city, especially if there is low rent office space to fill. This will be a very gradual process, however. In Chicago, no company wants to be in the suburbs anymore. We are about 20 years behind them in this shift.

 

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Thanks everyone for their thoughts.

 

In re Downtown Houston being at a "trough" in occupancy as far as historical trends go, I agree.  That said, we're probably somewhere near the peak in the national business cycle and it is the national business cycle that's propping the economy up, kind of like in the 1990s, which was a recovery decade for the oil industry.

 

So if people agree with that (actually you don't have to agree with that, just consider it hypothetically), wouldn't that mean it's going to get worse before it gets better?  Or, at best, stable?

 

I think the other things worth considering are the exogenous trends, in particular the increasing prevalence of working from home in the "new economy," which has to result in lower demand for office space versus historical trends.

 

So we've got a whole host of things going on that could change the fundamentals . . . (historically) weak local demand for office space, weak national demand for office space, more space coming online.

 

How does the old space get backfilled?  Or does it at all?  Conversions?  Expansions?  Relocations from other Houston business districts (I'm not sure how this is good, in the long run)?  Relocations from outside of Houston (it's been awhile on that one, sadly)?  New businesses?  Demolitions?

 

I do think Downtown Dallas is the best corollary . . . that office market never recovered from the glut of space in the 1980s.  It's kind of an interesting space to walk around . . . they do have signature skyscrapers but they have a lot of older ho-hum buildings still standing . . . took a long time but a lot of them have gotten converted and it's a pretty lively place now on the main axes.  I think we may be heading in that direction.  Hope it doesn't take 30 years as it did there.

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Downtown has been able to be full when the national economy was down and empty when the national economy was up. Just depends on the energy industry, which has its own cycles.

 

On this forum in the early 2000's we were wondering how downtown would ever fill up again after all the energy traders collapsed (Enron, Dynegy, Reliant). There was this thing called "peak oil" which meant that oil was in permanent decline. It filled up in about 4 years.

 

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Well aware of the above.

 

I’m probably suffering from “this time is different”-ism.

 

But, in any case, H-Town Man apparently votes BACKFILL (energy industry?) in the potential outcomes described above.

Edited by mattyt36

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8 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

Well aware of the above.

 

I’m probably suffering from “this time is different”-ism.

 

But, in any case, H-Town Man apparently votes BACKFILL (energy industry?) in the potential outcomes described above.

 

I don't vote anything, just guessing what landlords will do. 1970's office buildings don't make great residential properties. 800 Bell might though.

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I think the City of Houston should take more initiative to get more companies to move here to diversify our economy. I'd much rather have our office towers fill up and then build new residential/hotel on the many surface lots we have. On the flip side, I'd hate to lose any of our gems due to lack of vacancy.

 

1600 Smith could be turned into a hotel/residential combo. That Crown would make a sweet Ballroom, Bar, or Penthouse. The Allen Center Garage could easily be renovated to not be so damn ugly, and include a fabulous pool and spa rooftop. Could even hold two separate pools for the residents and hotel guests (it's big enough).

 

Esperson would make a great Ritz Carlton or Belmond. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Montrose1100 said:

I think the City of Houston should take more initiative to get more companies to move here to diversify our economy. I'd much rather have our office towers fill up and then build new residential/hotel on the many surface lots we have. On the flip side, I'd hate to lose any of our gems due to lack of vacancy.

 

1600 Smith could be turned into a hotel/residential combo. That Crown would make a sweet Ballroom, Bar, or Penthouse. The Allen Center Garage could easily be renovated to not be so damn ugly, and include a fabulous pool and spa rooftop. Could even hold two separate pools for the residents and hotel guests (it's big enough).

 

Esperson would make a great Ritz Carlton or Belmond. 

A Belmond flag hotel in DT Hoston lol. Oil is at 0 now...

 

But yes our current admin had done a nightmare of a job attracting new companies here not involved with energy. It's painful to watch Dallas and Austin speed ahead in this regard. 

Edited by iah77

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4 hours ago, iah77 said:

A Belmond flag hotel in DT Hoston lol. Oil is at 0 now...

 

But yes our current admin had done a nightmare of a job attracting new companies here not involved with energy. It's painful to watch Dallas and Austin speed ahead in this regard. 

 

Not sure why the current administration (if you mean Turner) deserves blame for not attracting new non-energy companies here.  We haven't competed seriously in a long time.  The periodic energy sector relocations like Oxy clouds everyones' mind, I think.


Does anyone even remember the last non-energy company that moved HQ here, not to mention one that set up shop downtown?  I'm at a loss.  Continental?  That doesn't even really count considering TI was here before.  Major corporate expansion?  Ford?  That was a call center.  Seems like the major announcements have been more in the industrial sector.  Absolutely nothing on par with what Dallas has gotten in the last decade.  (I have no idea why anyone would think that was an attractive place to live, but I digress.)  

 

The 5 (or whatever) recent 100-year floods is certainly going to kick us off the list for another decade, and that's assuming we don't have more.

 

I'm not saying it's bad.  Not like Miami or Los Angeles have fared particularly well in this regard, either.

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14 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

 

Not sure why the current administration (if you mean Turner) deserves blame for not attracting new non-energy companies here.  We haven't competed seriously in a long time.  The periodic energy sector relocations like Oxy clouds everyones' mind, I think.


Does anyone even remember the last non-energy company that moved HQ here, not to mention one that set up shop downtown?  I'm at a loss.  Continental?  That doesn't even really count considering TI was here before.  Major corporate expansion?  Ford?  That was a call center.  Seems like the major announcements have been more in the industrial sector.  Absolutely nothing on par with what Dallas has gotten in the last decade.  (I have no idea why anyone would think that was an attractive place to live, but I digress.)  

 

The 5 (or whatever) recent 100-year floods is certainly going to kick us off the list for another decade, and that's assuming we don't have more.

 

I'm not saying it's bad.  Not like Miami or Los Angeles have fared particularly well in this regard, either.

 

I think we've had some moves in the med sector. The Menninger Clinic came here in the 00's. But yeah, we can't get corporate relocations to save our lives. 

 

The one criticism that everyone makes of Houston that is in our power to change is planning/beautification. The people who don't want this to happen (because it would take away what makes us unique, or it would make things cost more, or it would be Stalinist) explain our lack of relocation competitiveness by saying that non-oil companies don't want to come here because the oil industry is too powerful a neighbor and can hire away their talent. This is an excuse, but there may be something to it. Houston's office market has a higher average rent than DFW, even though DFW is a more white collar metro with more Fortune 500 companies and endless relocations. This speaks to the oil industry's deep pockets. Companies that relocate are generally looking for bargains. That is why most of Dallas' action is in outer suburbs like Frisco, and they haven't built an office building above 25 stories since the 1980's.

 

The best thing we can do is keep making incremental improvements in beautification and solve the flood problem. The bayou makeover was huge and got us some great press. Keep adding to that and address our uglier freeways.

 

 

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Very concerned that there is a Detroit dynamic at work - a single, concentrated and powerful industry crowds out all others. When times are good in that industry, the city flourishes and when times are bad...

 

I understand that it appears we are more diversified now then the past but a lot of these jobs are tied to energy. This article although a little dated, explains the dynamic. There are 550,000 “base jobs” tied to energy and manufacturing that bring in money to the Houston area and then there are 2.5 million jobs that support those base jobs like real estate and retail. 

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.houstonchronicle.com/business/economy/amp/The-deceptive-diversity-of-Houston-beyond-oil-8325303.php

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3 hours ago, H-Town Man said:

 

I think we've had some moves in the med sector. The Menninger Clinic came here in the 00's. But yeah, we can't get corporate relocations to save our lives. 

 

The one criticism that everyone makes of Houston that is in our power to change is planning/beautification. The people who don't want this to happen (because it would take away what makes us unique, or it would make things cost more, or it would be Stalinist) explain our lack of relocation competitiveness by saying that non-oil companies don't want to come here because the oil industry is too powerful a neighbor and can hire away their talent. This is an excuse, but there may be something to it. Houston's office market has a higher average rent than DFW, even though DFW is a more white collar metro with more Fortune 500 companies and endless relocations. This speaks to the oil industry's deep pockets. Companies that relocate are generally looking for bargains. That is why most of Dallas' action is in outer suburbs like Frisco, and they haven't built an office building above 25 stories since the 1980's.

 

The best thing we can do is keep making incremental improvements in beautification and solve the flood problem. The bayou makeover was huge and got us some great press. Keep adding to that and address our uglier freeways.

 

 

 

Interesting theory, although by the same token, seems to me that the lack of a visible upside in the industry any time soon, if ever, would make the city a very attractive target for companies interested in hiring qualified engineers.  I don't think of Dallas as much more than a back office city, but obviously I'm biased. 

 

In any case, we can't deny that the City has been a magnet for migration, both domestically but especially internationally, despite not being a magnet for corporate relocations.  And it's been my experience that the majority of people who live here love it and if they leave they come back (myself included).  I have to ask myself, though, walking through the Heights, walking around Rice, seeing the redevelopment of other close-in neighborhoods, then all of the upper middle class suburbs . . . what do these people do, exactly, if they don't work in oil?!  

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2 hours ago, downtownian said:

Very concerned that there is a Detroit dynamic at work - a single, concentrated and powerful industry crowds out all others. When times are good in that industry, the city flourishes and when times are bad...

 

I understand that it appears we are more diversified now then the past but a lot of these jobs are tied to energy. This article although a little dated, explains the dynamic. There are 550,000 “base jobs” tied to energy and manufacturing that bring in money to the Houston area and then there are 2.5 million jobs that support those base jobs like real estate and retail. 

 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.houstonchronicle.com/business/economy/amp/The-deceptive-diversity-of-Houston-beyond-oil-8325303.php

 

I understand the logic but I think if you dove deeper into Detroit's postwar economic statistics through the 1970s you would see they were way less diverse, plus tremendously large factories shuttered, each employing tens of thousands of working class people.  With the deep racial tension, it was a powderkeg.

 

In the Midwest I think a better corollary is Chicago . . . Chicago really hasn't recovered fully from the 1970s itself but has always had a very active business community and stable urban neighborhoods that people don't want to leave.  Of course I hope Houston never becomes as fragmented (understatement) or fiscally challenged as Chicago.  

 

Otherwise I do think Houston is just increasingly Miami and Los Angeles, so there may be some growing pains.  

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18 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

 

I understand the logic but I think if you dove deeper into Detroit's postwar economic statistics through the 1970s you would see they were way less diverse, plus tremendously large factories shuttered, each employing tens of thousands of working class people.  With the deep racial tension, it was a powderkeg.

 

In the Midwest I think a better corollary is Chicago . . . Chicago really hasn't recovered fully from the 1970s itself but has always had a very active business community and stable urban neighborhoods that people don't want to leave.  Of course I hope Houston never becomes as fragmented (understatement) or fiscally challenged as Chicago.  

 

Otherwise I do think Houston is just increasingly Miami and Los Angeles, so there may be some growing pains.  

 

I hope so.

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14 hours ago, mattyt36 said:

 

Interesting theory, although by the same token, seems to me that the lack of a visible upside in the industry any time soon, if ever, would make the city a very attractive target for companies interested in hiring qualified engineers.  I don't think of Dallas as much more than a back office city, but obviously I'm biased. 

 

The oil industry always comes back. If I were a company that used the same engineering talent as oil companies, I would not want to be in the same city as the oil companies. But talent doesn't just mean engineers, it also includes management, IT, etc. So having oil works against our diversification, just like having auto worked against Detroit's diversification. 

 

As far as Dallas, they have 3 Fortune 10 companies. True they get a lot of back offices, but so do we. I don't think we have a single large bank headquarters. We have back offices for JPMorgan Chase and BoA, but Dallas has bigger back offices for those banks. Dallas also got Comerica to relocate from Detroit about a decade ago, so there's a sizable front office. At this point I would take some more back offices.

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51 minutes ago, H-Town Man said:

 

The oil industry always comes back. If I were a company that used the same engineering talent as oil companies, I would not want to be in the same city as the oil companies. But talent doesn't just mean engineers, it also includes management, IT, etc. So having oil works against our diversification, just like having auto worked against Detroit's diversification. 

 

As far as Dallas, they have 3 Fortune 10 companies. True they get a lot of back offices, but so do we. I don't think we have a single large bank headquarters. We have back offices for JPMorgan Chase and BoA, but Dallas has bigger back offices for those banks. Dallas also got Comerica to relocate from Detroit about a decade ago, so there's a sizable front office. At this point I would take some more back offices.

 

It's difficult (for me, at least, not working in oil) to think of assumptions under which the oil industry as we know it returns.

 

The size of the financial sector relative to the size of the city has been pretty awful since the S&L crisis.  And Dallas is the regional hub by far of the national banks.

 

I was using "back office" as more of a metaphor . . . what decisions of grand importance get made in Dallas?  It's really just a bland consumer-oriented city.

 

But, yes, attracting any new professional service sector "good jobs" in number not tied to the energy industry or, really, the local population growth would be a big deal.

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15 minutes ago, mattyt36 said:

 

It's difficult (for me, at least, not working in oil) to think of assumptions under which the oil industry as we know it returns.

 

The size of the financial sector relative to the size of the city has been pretty awful since the S&L crisis.  And Dallas is the regional hub by far of the national banks.

 

I was using "back office" as more of a metaphor . . . what decisions of grand importance get made in Dallas?  It's really just a bland consumer-oriented city.

 

But, yes, attracting any new professional service sector "good jobs" in number not tied to the energy industry or, really, the local population growth would be a big deal.

 

It was similarly difficult to imagine the oil industry returning after 1986, 1999, etc. In 2013 it was difficult to imagine it ever coming down, which is why Houston ranked as the no. 1 city for investment. As a veteran in the business said during the downturn a few years ago, "Nothing in this business ever stays the same for long."

 

Here is a scenario in which the oil industry as we know it returns: Numerous small oil producers go bankrupt this year and their assets get bought up by bigger companies. Demand returns in 2021-2022 to where it was in 2019, about 100 million barrels a day. Saudi Arabia needs to recover the cash reserves it's burned through the last two years, so it continues production cuts to push prices higher. Meanwhile there are fewer producers, resulting in more disciplined drilling, and investors are more leery of fracking, taming that sector. So rather than the price getting weighed down into the $50's-60's as in 2018-2019, it gets pushed up past $80 once all the oil in storage gets burned through. Now instead of an overwild fracking sector we see a more traditional expansion of major offshore and other capital-intensive projects, resulting in heavy demand for Houston office space. And if there should happen to be conflict in the Middle East at some point in the next decade, prices could go over $100.

 

This chart shows global oil demand growth, broken down by continent. The big oil boom of the 70's was caused by demand growth in North America and Europe. The big oil boom of 2005-2015 was caused by demand growth in Asia. North America and Europe are mature economies, but South and Central America, Africa, and large parts of Asia are still eggs waiting to hatch. If any of those regions starts developing the way China and India have developed, we could see another vast oil industry expansion in the 21st century. "But wait! What about electric cars?!" If electric cars really do take off and replace a significant share of gas-powered vehicles, then the energy demand simply shifts from gasoline to electric power, which translates to a boom in natural gas... again benefiting the oil industry.

 

worldoildemand.png

 

 

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1 hour ago, H-Town Man said:

 "But wait! What about electric cars?!" If electric cars really do take off and replace a significant share of gas-powered vehicles, then the energy demand simply shifts from gasoline to electric power, which translates to a boom in natural gas... again benefiting the oil industry.

 

The primary concern is the combination of electric cars and increased renewables. The technology for renewables and battery storage are not there to displace fossil fuels today but technological change is rapid and unknowable. In the future, fossil fuels will not be extensively used - the big question is does this occur in the year 2500, the year 2100, 2050 or sooner. 

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43 minutes ago, downtownian said:

 

The primary concern is the combination of electric cars and increased renewables. The technology for renewables and battery storage are not there to displace fossil fuels today but technological change is rapid and unknowable. In the future, fossil fuels will not be extensively used - the big question is does this occur in the year 2500, the year 2100, 2050 or sooner. 

 

These questions were asked widely during every oil bust. Watch the 1992 documentary series "The Prize," or read the book it was based on. In the last episode, they're talking about how renewable energy and electric cars are the future. Renewable energy has always been the speculation, but continued growth in oil demand (see chart above) has always been the fact. No, I don't think the human race will use oil forever, but I would bet that we have two or three more oil booms (and as many busts) in my lifetime.

 

 

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On 4/22/2020 at 4:03 PM, mattyt36 said:

 

Not sure why the current administration (if you mean Turner) deserves blame for not attracting new non-energy companies here.  We haven't competed seriously in a long time.  The periodic energy sector relocations like Oxy clouds everyones' mind, I think.


Does anyone even remember the last non-energy company that moved HQ here, not to mention one that set up shop downtown?  I'm at a loss.  Continental?  That doesn't even really count considering TI was here before.  Major corporate expansion?  Ford?  That was a call center.  Seems like the major announcements have been more in the industrial sector.  Absolutely nothing on par with what Dallas has gotten in the last decade.  (I have no idea why anyone would think that was an attractive place to live, but I digress.)  

 

The 5 (or whatever) recent 100-year floods is certainly going to kick us off the list for another decade, and that's assuming we don't have more.

 

I'm not saying it's bad.  Not like Miami or Los Angeles have fared particularly well in this regard, either.

 

On the other hand, if remote working initiatives and automation increase, given the experiences with the work-from-home lockdown, then city-office spaces will be less and less necessary, as companies realize that they can save lots of overhead. Thus, the concept of economic activity being tied to anyone city would become a thing of the past.

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