Houston: Silicon Valley of Global Energy Industry
Houston has become a sort of Silicon Valley for the global energy industry. "There's hardly any oil and gas production in a 40-mile radius of Houston," says Mayor Bill White, a former energy executive, as he held court in the city's charming Art Deco city hall.
"It's the knowledge that has concentrated here that is driving things." In 1981, the oil and gas industry was a domestic, blue-collar one. Today it's an international, white-collar one. Oil companies, wind-energy startups, consulting geologists, and software developers comprise what John Hofmeister, who is retiring in July as president of Shell Oil Co., calls "this mass aggregation of people who know what they're doing in the energy world."
Urban cowboy? Think suburban geek. Houston has 70,000 engineers and architects (a concentration 60% higher than is typical for the United States). The oil boom and weak dollar are boosting demand for their services, and engineering and construction firms like KBR and Fluor are applying their expertise to power plants and sewage facilities around the world.
~Daniel Gross in Slate.com