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Bayou Business Download: Jobs, Oil and Real Estate - The Latest

Published Mar 11, 2021 by A.J. Mistretta


KEI Meta - Energy

In this episode of Bayou Business Download we deliver an update on where things stand with the region’s ongoing recovery. As the vaccine rollout ramps up and businesses are allowed to reopen fully across Texas, what are the opportunities and the challenges for the Houston area as we work to regain our economic footing? Partnership Senior Vice President of Research Patrick Jankowski joins us for the conversation. 

In this episode we cover: 

  • The Houston jobs landscape one full year into the pandemic. 
  • The impact of consistently higher oil prices on the broader local economy. 
  • What sectors of Houston real estate are faring better and which are likely to be a drag on the sector. 
  • Other positive signs for the ongoing recovery. 

 

This is a podcast from the Greater Houston Partnership where we dive into the data and analytics influencing the region’s economy.

 

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Houston Energy Leader: ExxonMobil’s Carbon Capture Innovation Hub Concept ‘Major Step Forward’ in Energy Transition

4/20/21
HOUSTON (April 20, 2021) – The Greater Houston Partnership, the region’s principal business organization, applauded ExxonMobil’s announcement of the Carbon Capture and Storage Houston Innovation Hub concept. “The rapid-scaling of carbon capture and storage technology and infrastructure is critical to the global energy transition to a low-carbon future. The concept unveiled by ExxonMobil for the Houston region is a key milestone in this effort,” said Bobby Tudor, chair of the Partnership’s Energy Transition initiative and chair, Tudor, Pickering, Holt, and Co. “The energy transition requires a dual approach that addresses the need to deliver ever-increasing amounts of energy to support a growing, modernizing global population while also achieving net zero emissions to prevent unmanageable impacts from a changing climate. Put simply, ExxonMobil’s commitment to carbon capture and storage here in the Houston region is a major step forward in the transition.” As the Energy Capital of the World, Houston is at the heart of efforts to transition to a low-carbon future.  The Greater Houston Partnership, as representatives of the Houston business community, has been committed to positioning Houston as the leader of the global energy transition for several years. In Bobby Tudor’s speech at the organization’s Annual Meeting in January 2020, the then Partnership board chair declared, “As Houston business leaders, we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to lead the transition to a cleaner, more efficient and more sustainable, lower carbon world. There is fantastic business opportunity for us in this effort; it’s necessary and it’s the right thing to do. Houston is about making things happen, and we can lead this energy transition.” A recent report from the Center for Houston’s Future and the University of Houston noted the “recent National Petroleum Council study on the ‘at-scale deployment of CCUS’ made clear that Houston and Texas offer world-leading advantages because of the unique cluster of industries, geology and business opportunities for not only disposal but commercialization of CO2 as a useful product.” The global energy transition will be comprehensive and complex requiring enormous investments, innovations, new business models and changing patterns of energy production, distribution and use. The Partnership believes that all forms of energy will be required, including decarbonized oil and gas.  Alignment between private interests and government policy makers at all levels will be required to support the massive investments required. The Houston region is positioned to lead the transition and capture value for the region from the changes that will result. Houston is positioned to lead thanks to its deep technical and commercial energy expertise, extensive energy and manufacturing infrastructure, experience in large complex projects and problems, burgeoning innovation ecosystem, and availability of capital.  It also benefits from an established City of Houston Climate Action Plan and pragmatic, results-oriented relationships across public and private sectors. Energy Transition Strategy Roll-Out, Global Energy Transition Event – June 29 – July 1, 2021 Key Houston leaders from across multiple sectors have worked together to develop and lead a bold, long-term regional strategy for competing and leading in the global energy transition.   The resulting report and regional strategy generated by this work will be presented by the Greater Houston Partnership and the Center for Houston’s Future at a special event this summer entitled The Future of Global Energy: Houston’s Role in Leading the Energy Transition, June 29-July 1. Information will be posted at Houston.org/Events when available. ### Greater Houston Partnership The Greater Houston Partnership works to make Houston one of the best places to live, work and build a business. As the economic development organization for the Houston region, the Partnership champions growth across 11 counties by bringing together business and civic-minded leaders who are dedicated to the area’s long-term success. Representing 1,000 member organizations and approximately one-fifth of the region’s workforce, the Partnership is the place business leaders come together to make an impact. Learn more at Houston.org. CONTACT:     A.J. Mistretta  Vice President, Communications          (c) 504-450-3516 | amistretta@houston.org Maggie Martin  Senior Manager, Communications  mmartin@houston.org 
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Houston Experts Lay Out 9 Key Elements for Safe Return-to-Work Plans

4/15/21
As more Houston companies consider bringing employees back to the workplace, experts say there are a number of critical factors to consider to ensure reopening plans are both safe and legally compliant.  The Greater Houston Partnership hosted Dr. Carl Vartian, Chief Medical Officer of HCA Houston Healthcare Clear Lake, and Tom Wilson, Partner at Vinson & Elkins, for a conversation about best practices for employers. The webinar held on April 15 is part of the Partnership's Restart Houston series. Here are the highlights from the virtual event.  Top 4 Safety Recommendations From Dr. Vartian Enable basic hand hygiene: Employers need to have a way for people to wash their hands. Also, for disinfecting surfaces, Dr. Vartian said using regular detergent and water is all you need, according to the CDC. Create a socially distanced environment: Guidelines on this are still in place and individuals should continue practicing social distancing with others, maintaining six feet where possible.  Process of identification and isolation of sick employees: Evaluate how you screen your employees before they come to work and what procedures you have in place for sick workers. Communicate to employees that they should not be in the workplace if they exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms.   Workplace controls and mitigation: Think about your workplace setup. Can employees continue working remotely? Can you stagger shifts to help mitigate the number of employees in the workplace? Top 5 Best Practices for Workplace Procedures from Tom Wilson Appoint a point person: Assign someone who is ultimately responsible for your return-to-work program. “This needs to be a point person who is overseeing the program itself and is the face of the program. That’s very important,” said Wilson. Conduct a hazard assessment: Do a hazard assessment and mitigate those hazards before you bring employees back. Take a look at your workplace and consider how your employees interact. When does that happen and when does it need to happen?  Mitigation protocol: How do you deal with a situation or element of your workplace that could pose a safety issue? Consider measures such as implementing barriers in between desks or alternating work schedules so there aren't as many employees in the workplace at one time. Inform managers and supervisors of protocols: Inform your managers and supervisors what your return-to-work plan is before you roll it out to all staff. When you want your leaders to communicate or enforce the program and they're uncertain of details, that can cause problems on how to communicate - and enforce - procedures. Establish a clear communication plan: Consider how you roll out the return plan to your employees. Be sure to follow up with employees by calling them. Ask if they have any questions about the plan. This is so that employees know exactly what to expect when they physically return to the workplace.  Implications of the COVID-19 Vaccine in the Workplace Wilson said one of the main legal issues surrounding return-to-work plans is whether an employer can mandate or require employees to be vaccinated before returning to the workplace. He said yes, they can. The question is whether they should.  There may be employees who say they have a health condition that prohibits them from getting vaccinated, which falls under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Or, you could have employees who say they have a religious prohibition against vaccinations, which falls under religious rights.  "This is not a one-size-fits-all situation," said Wilson. Policies and procedures, he also noted, can vary across different industries. There are, for instance, situations where employees live in close quarters on the jobsite, making social distancing a challenging policy to put in practice.  Wilson also said some employees may resist  getting vaccinated. He suggested employers consider incentives to help and encourage their employees to move ahead with getting a vaccine, such as PTO or other options. "Instead of using the stick, you might use carrots," said Wilson.  To view a recording of this presentation, members can log into the Membership Portal at the top right of this screen. To learn more about membership with the Greater Houston Partnership click here, or contact membership@houston.org. New resources around vaccines, the reopening of worksites and more can be found on the Partnership’s COVID-19 Resources page.
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