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Things to know: $17.5B oil acquisition, new accelerator focuses on sustainability, and more in Houston energy

Houston energy transition folks — here's what to know to start your week. Photo via Getty Images

Editor's note: Dive headfirst into the new week with three quick things to catch up on in Houston's energy transition: a podcast episode with a biotech leader, a very big oil and gas deal, and events not to miss.

Big deal: ConocoPhillips to buy Marathon Oil for $17.B in all-stock deal

ConocoPhillips is buying Marathon Oil in an all-stock deal valued at approximately $17.1 billion as energy prices rise and big oil companies reap massive profits.

The deal to combine the two Houston-headquartered companies is valued at $22.5 billion when including $5.4 billion in debt.

Crude prices have jumped more than 12% this year and the cost for a barrel rose above $80 this week. Oil majors put up record profits after Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022 and while those numbers have slipped, there has been a surge in mergers between energy companies flush with cash. Continue reading.

Podcast to stream: Carlos Estrada, head of Venture Acceleration at BioWell, joins the Houston Innovators Podcast

Bioindustrial technologies have a high potential for impacting sustainability — but they tend to need a little bit more help navigating the startup valley of death. That's where the BioWell comes in.

Carlos Estrada, head of Venture Acceleration at BioWell, says the idea for the accelerator was came to First Bight Ventures, a Houston-based biomanufacturing investment firm, as it began building its portfolio of promising companies.

"While we were looking at various companies, we found ourselves finding different needs that these startups have," Estrada says on the Houston Innovators Podcast. "That's how the opportunity for the BioWell came about." Continue reading.

Events not to miss

Put these Houston-area energy-related events on your calendar.

  • The Energy Drone & Robotics Summit is coming to Houston June 10 to 12. Join for the ultimate event in the world for UAVs, Robotics & Data/AI, 3D Reality Capture, Geospatial and Digital Twins focused on the business and technology in energy & industrial operations, inspections, maintenance, surveying & mapping. Register now.
  • Argus Clean Ammonia North America Conference will take place on June 12 to 14 at the Hyatt Regency Houston. Over the three days of the conference, explore the big questions many producers are facing around where demand is coming from, expect to hear perspectives from key domestic consumers as well as international demand centres for clean ammonia. Register now.
  • Join the over 150 senior energy and utilities leaders from June 17 to 18 in Houston for AI in Energy to unlock the potential of AI within your enterprise and delve into key areas for its development.Register now.
  • Energy Underground (June) is a group of professionals in the Greater Houston area that are accelerating the Energy Transition that connect monthly at The Cannon - West Houston. Register now.

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A View From HETI

Texas's evolving energy landscape means affordability for residents, a new report finds. Photo via Pexels

The Lone Star State is an economical option when it comes to energy costs, one report has found.

WalletHub, a personal finance website, analyzed energy affordability across the 50 states in its new report, Energy Costs by State in 2024, which looked at residential energy types: electricity, natural gas, motor fuel and home heating oil.

Texas ranked as the fourth cheapest state for energy, or No. 47 in the report that sorted by most expensive average monthly energy bill. Texans' average energy cost per month is $437, the report found.

Source: WalletHub

Here's how Texas ranked in key categories, with No. 1 being the most expensive and No. 50 being the cheapest:

  • No. 27 – price of electricity
  • No. 15 – price of natural gas
  • No. 44 – natural-gas consumption per consumer
  • No. 40 – price of motor fuel
  • No. 16 – motor-fuel consumption per driver
  • No. 49 – home heating-oil consumption per consumer

With the most expensive state — Wyoming — being over four times the cost compared to the cheapest state — New Mexico, the difference between energy costs between states varies greatly, but the reason for that isn't exactly a mystery.

“Energy prices vary from state to state based on several factors including energy sources, supply and demand, energy regulation, regulatory authorities, competition, and the free market," explains expert Justin Perryman, a professor at Washington University School of Law. "[States] such as Texas have a deregulated electricity marketplace. Missouri and 17 other states have a regulated energy market. In deregulated markets there are typically more energy providers which often leads to more competition and lower prices; however, other factors can contribute to energy prices.

"In regulated markets, the state energy regulatory authority sets the prices of energy," he continues. "It can be politically unpopular to raise energy costs, so those states may benefit from lower energy costs. Factors such as the state’s commitment to renewable energy may also factor into energy costs. Proximity to less expensive energy sources can lower energy costs.”

Texas's evolving energy landscape has been well documented, and earlier this year the state's solar energy generation surpassed the output by coal, according to a report from the Institute For Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

A separate report found that, when compared to other states, Texas will account for the biggest share of new utility-scale solar capacity and new battery storage capacity in 2024. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the state will make up 35 percent of new utility-scale solar capacity in the U.S. this year.

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