Once wedded to oil, Houston economy carries on despite bust

Eaglefordtexas.com | Juan A. Lozano

The Houston economy is growing and thriving.

For generations, anyone who lived in Houston long enough was sure to feel the pain of an oil bust. But 21st century Houston isn’t like its oil-dependent predecessor. The city now has a more diversified economy, plus help from a wave of construction at its petrochemical plants. Oil is still vitally important here. The most recent boom helped create 100,000 jobs annually for several years. Many of the largest energy companies, including ConocoPhillips and Shell Oil Co., are headquartered in Houston and have gleaming buildings in the Energy Corridor, a 10-mile stretch along Interstate 10 that’s home to oil companies as well as energy-related engineering and industrial firms. Still, the area’s petrochemical plants are in the midst of a $50 billion construction boom fueled by low natural gas prices. Cheap natural gas has made it much less expensive to make products such as plastics at those facilities.

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