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 Fall 2015


Ten Oil and Gas Rich Markets that Offer Plenty to Your Non-Oil Related Company

Fracking mania has helped the American South start a second industrial revolution. We read every day about areas of the South that strike it rich as new natural resources are found. But what can these oil and gas rich markets offer your non-oil related company? All of the markets mentioned below have experienced the boom of oil and natural gas. Maybe a few of them want to diversify their industry base by offering your non-oil related company a big incentive package. Here are 10 that can do just that in the South.

Odessa, Texas

Odessa, Texas gets a lot of publicity for its booming economy due to the oil and gas industry. But any business looking for a non-union skilled workforce needs to look at Odessa. Odessa is located in West Texas, where government works for business in an extremely favorable climate. This area has a young growing population with an average age of 34. As the center of energy generation, Odessa offers low-cost electricity rates and Freeport exemptions along with job creation and property tax incentives through its Type A economic development sales tax revenues. The city, Economic Development Department of the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, Odessa Industrial Development and Economic Development Corporation coordinate efforts to combine local incentives with state efforts that include Enterprise Zone benefits and Skills Development Fund grants for training. With a fully developed industrial park ready for new industry, Odessa has the competitive edge when it comes to working with new businesses that want to make West Texas their new home.

Midland, Texas

Texas Gov. Rick Perry takes a look at a full-scale mockup of the XCOR Lynx suborbital spaceplane alongside XCOR chief test pilot Rick Searfoss. XCOR has announced plans to locate their research and development headquarters in Midland.This region has a reputation for a thriving oil and gas driven economy which holds true now more than ever. According to economist Karr Ingham, “The Permian Basin continues to be the premier crude oil producing region of the state and nation.” However, you might be surprised to learn just how diversified this community truly is. Supporting these efforts to broaden the horizon is the Midland Development Corporation; a Type-A Sales Tax entity that incentivizes qualified employers who create and retain a diversified job market in the region. XCOR, being a prime example, is a leader in the commercial space transportation industry and has plans to locate their research and development headquarters in Midland. Midland boasts a highly skilled workforce inclusive of engineers, businesspeople and healthcare providers and the numbers continue to grow with access to nearby higher education programs including Midland College and The University of Texas of the Permian Basin.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Northeast Oklahoma has garnered many accolades recently for its economic development accomplishments and its business-friendly environment. The Tulsa region, known for its thriving energy sector, continues to establish itself as a leader in job creation and business growth, earning recognition from the Brookings Institute as one of the world’s top 100 metropolitan economies.

Victoria, Texas

Growth in the oil and gas industry has businesses booming in the Victoria, Texas region and the Eagle Ford Shale activity has been a significant source of that stimulus. Leading economist, M. Ray Perryman, reports current spillover benefits for Victoria stemming from activity within the Eagle Ford Shale are estimated to include $241.2 million in gross product and 2,863 permanent jobs. By 2020, these gains will likely expand to $344.1 million in gross product and 4,083 jobs. Those numbers represent great opportunity for Victoria, and not only in the oil and gas industry. They also represent substantial revenue to fund workforce training and new school construction.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus is rocking with projects that benefit greatly from a massive supply of natural gas. Austria’s largest steel manufacturer announced in March it is building a $700 million iron ore processing plant at the Port of Corpus Christi. That significant oil and gas fueled project was preceded by another from Tianjin Pipe (TPCO), China's largest manufacturer of steel pipes. In 2009, the company announced the largest new manufacturing investment ($1 billion) by a Chinese company in U.S. history. But there's more to Corpus Christi than petrochemicals, the Port and tourism. There is a growing aerospace sector there, and with so much available land for development, the non-oil and gas prospects are endless.

Houston, Texas

Well, this market -- one of only seven mega-markets in the South -- is a no-brainer for this category. Without question Houston is the energy center of North America. Yet, Houston is so large and diverse -- one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse markets in the country -- that your non-oil related company would have no trouble blending in there. We can't think of a more prosperous city in the South than Houston.

Lafayette, Louisiana

Lafayette is sort of a mini-Houston, with oil and gas-related manufacturers, engineering services and other companies linked to petrochemicals making up a good portion of its economy. Yet, Lafayette is so much more than oil and gas. Lafayette is the center of the Acadiana region that is both multi-cultural and multi-industrial and is surrounded by a unique, publicly-owned fiber optic loop. "From oil and gas extraction to crawfish farming, we've created unique industries while developing technologies that are now the global standard," said Gregg Gothreaux, President and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority.

Lake Charles, Louisiana

Just down Interstate 10 from Lafayette are Lake Charles and the Southwest Louisiana region. No place that we can think of has seen larger petrochemical projects than Southwest Louisiana. Every state would die for a billion dollar project. Billion dollar projects in Southwest Louisiana are happening all the time. But this region is so much more than petrochemicals. It has a significant aerospace sector, the casinos are world-class and the entrepreneurial spirit lives strong in Southwest Louisiana.

Fort Worth, Texas

While the oil and gas industry remains a solid economic driver for the city, Fort Worth is also a major center for manufacturing, aviation and aerospace, life sciences, distribution and professional services. In fact, American Airlines, BNSF Railway, Pier 1 Imports, GE Manufacturing Solutions and RadioShack are just a few of the household names that call Fort Worth home. With over 30,000 companies, Fort Worth ranks among the top business destinations in the world. The presence of global corporations in Fort Worth has also helped them establish a large, diverse and highly educated workforce. Their businesses and employees enjoy a low cost of living and many cost-saving opportunities, including the absence of a state income tax. And, the central location and comprehensive transportation infrastructure, which includes access to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, an expansive rail network and major interstates, connects Fort Worth to the state, nation and the world. It’s no wonder that Fort Worth consistently ranks at the top of lists as a “best place to do business,” “best city for jobs,” and “best city for a fresh start.”

Shreveport, Louisiana

As one of the most storied oil and gas regions in the nation, the energy sector represents a mainstay in Shreveport-Bossier's economy. However, in the last two decades, this north Louisiana metropolis has diversified its economy, reinventing itself as the new “Hollywood South” and digital media hub. Home to Oscar-winning Moonbot Studios, Shreveport-Bossier is attracting a creative class, drawn to the area by the great quality of life, low cost of living and emerging art scene. Shreveport-Bossier is also fast becoming a manufacturing powerhouse. Ranked by Forbes and KPMG as having the lowest cost of doing business in the nation, the area has won major projects including a $900 million investment from Benteler Steel/Tube, a German steel manufacturer. Shreveport-Bossier’s skilled and experienced manufacturing workforce has also attracted other manufacturers like Ronpak, which relocated its headquarters to the Caddo-Bossier Port. Research and development from the region’s 12 colleges and universities has fostered emerging sectors in cyber security, technology, health care, biolife science and agribusiness.

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