Friday, July 19, 2013
Deepwater production in the Gulf of Mexico is poised for sustainable growth, as the news I consistently hear from clients and other industry pundits is very positive, and if you read any business news, it seems that significant announcements are released weekly: Exxon/Mobil, BP, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, Freeport-McMoRan Oil and Gas (formerly Plains Exploration & Production or PXP) and others have new significant deepwater activity.
Deepwater drilling is very expensive, involves more risk and takes much longer than drilling on “the shelf.” The Macondo disaster is a lingering reminder of the risk, but as unfortunate as the incident was, some very positive developments have resulted. New tools and technologies are being developed that make exploration and production much safer, and much of that technology is developed and supported here in Acadiana. I believe that we will see substantial job growth in the service sectors and in the technology companies that service and support the energy industry. With that job growth, we will see continued expansion in all commercial real estate sectors, particularly industrial/warehouse.
The energy industry has a solid track record of innovation and entrepreneurialism, and a significant amount of that innovation has occurred in South Louisiana. There are many exciting new technology-based trends that are having substantial impacts on the Gulf — and in turn our economy.
Ever heard of a FPSO? It stands for floating production, storage and off-loading vessel, and it appears to be the wave of the future for deepwater drilling. These vessels offer flexibility and safety features that traditional fixed platforms do not. During severe wind and rains, the vessel can be rafted into wind and waves to reduce stress on stem connections and even disconnected from sub sea wellheads during more severe weather.
How about SureTec? It is a new leak and pressure monitoring solution that is revolutionizing deepwater downhole monitoring and troubleshooting by providing more accurate data much faster. Had this technology existed when Macondo was in production, the disaster might have been averted. Another new technology called the SHARC, developed by Chet Morrison Contractors, is an acronym for Subsea Hydraulic Abrasive Rotating Cutter. This device reduces diver time underwater, eliminates hand jetting and reduces job time by more than 50 percent. Technological developments like these are important to safe production in the Gulf and sustained growth in our market.
I believe that all sectors of the commercial real estate market will grow, but industrial will likely see more dramatic expansion than office and retail. Consider the following string of projects. Freeport-McMoRan Oil and Gas has partially moved into its new deepwater service facility in Broussard. GE Oil and Gas has a major expansion under way on Hwy. 90 across from Le Triomphe and just across the street, Baker has new space under construction on its campus.
In the SMEDA business/industrial park on the western edge of St. Martin Parish, Forum Energy is building a new facility on 20 acres and has additional expansion land for future growth. In Iberia Parish, Halliburton is under construction on Phase 1 of its new 105-acre site.
IPT Global, the Houston-based company that owns the aforementioned SureTec technology, just purchased 15 acres in Broussard with plans to build a new field support facility. Expro, Weatherford and Schlumberger all have facility expansion plans as well. This list represents only a few of the significant projects being constructed or in the pipeline.
Also significant is the level of speculative land development that is beginning to occur. Believe it or not, our market does not have many shovel-ready sites, so industrial parks with infrastructure in place are needed. Pride’s Crossing on Verot School Road is under construction and will open this year. Garber Industrial Park off Hwy. 90 has sold out Phase 1, and the second phase should start this year. Schaefer Industrial Park jump-started with the Forum Energy project. There will be one or more new parks coming to Broussard as well.
While the site development is significant, it is important to note that there still is not a lot being built on a speculative basis.
I believe that we will see local companies continue to thrive and create jobs. While I am bullish on the industrial sector of the market, what’s most promising is that local real estate as a whole stands to benefit from the energy industry.
Monty Warren is vice president and partner of Beau Box Commercial Real Estate, which has offices in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans. Warren, based in the Lafayette office, has two decades of commercial real estate experience.
The board hopes to recover all fees paid, plus one-half, along with what could amount to hundreds of thousands in additional penalties.
Oh, the irony... or something like that.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.
Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent rhetoric against President Barack Obama has failed to boost his standing among the conservative base.
Louisiana's annual legislative session begins.
The state has hired marksmen to shoot feral hogs from helicopters at two wildlife management areas in south Louisiana.
St. Patty's Day crafts
The former star of Saturday Night Live throws in his 2 cents on the Big Oil lawsuit.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Monday, March 10, 2014:
New menu items ready for the Lenten season
The Cane Fire Film Series screens “MaidenTrip” on Monday, March 10, at the AcA.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The vibe of the tribe done modern
The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Friday that initial claims rose to 2,125 from the previous week's total of 1,964. There were 2,887 initial claims during the comparable week in 2013.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
She’s the daughter of the legendary Johnny Cash, but she’s been a gifted artist in her own right for three decades, and she’s coming to Lafayette.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.