Baker Hughes has officially moved into its new headquarters in Houston. Photo via bakerhughes.com

Houston-based Baker Hughes officially opened the doors to its new headquarters in the Energy Corridor last week.

At a celebration held Oct. 23, the energy service company unveiled its new space within Energy Center II at 575 N. Dairy Ashford. The move represents a consolidation of Baker Hughes' various offices in the Houston-area as the company decreases its corporate footprint by about 346,000-square-feet, according to a report from the Houston Chronicle.

It is moving from its former headquarters in North Houston, near IAH. About 1,300 employees will work from the building, according to a statement from Baker Hughes.

“The opening of our new Houston headquarters is an important moment in our strategic transformation as we continue to take energy forward,” Lorenzo Simonelli, Baker Hughes chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Collaboration will be key to solving for the energy transition. We look forward to collaborating with our colleagues, partners, customers and new neighbors in the Energy Corridor to solve the Energy Trilemma.”

Additionally, the company reported that the new space will aim to help the company reduce costs, cut emissions, create more flexible workspaces and strengthen relationships within the Energy Corridor.

The new HQ includes features such as

  • Tech- and food-free quiet zones
  • Hybrid experience rooms for enhanced online meetings
  • About 25 open collaboration spaces
  • About 40 meeting rooms, including hybrid meeting rooms and a creative thinking room
  • About 12 community spaces
  • Nursing mothers suites
  • Prayer and meditation rooms

In other HQ news, ExxonMobil officially changed its headquarters to Houston over the summer. A July 5 filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission showed a significant step toward the HQ move that Exxon originally announced in early 2022.

ExxonMobil is officially HQ-ed in Houston — according to a recent SEC filing. Photo via ExxonMobil.com

Breaking news: ExxonMobil's HQ officially changed to Houston

now in HOU

As of this month, ExxonMobil's headquarters is officially Houston, according to a recent filing.

ExxonMobil's company page on the United States Securities and Exchange Commission now lists its new Houston-area address — 22777 Springwoods Village Parkway in Spring. While the ExxonMobil's site still lists it's Irving, Texas, address, the SEC filing dated July 5 marks a significant step toward the HQ move that Exxon originally announced in early 2022.

In the initial announcement, the company disclosed that the move, which will combine its chemical and refining divisions, will be completed by 2023. ExxonMobil’s Spring office was opened by former CEO Rex Tillerson in 2014.

With the relocation announcement, ExxonMobil became Houston’s 25th Fortune 500 headquarters, the third highest concentration in the country, after New York and Chicago, per the Greater Houston Partnership. It's slated to be the largest Fortune 500 company to be headquartered in the Houston region, ranking No. 10 in the 2021 listing based on $181.5 billion revenues in 2020.

“ExxonMobil’s move further solidifies Houston’s position as the Energy Capital of the World," the Greater Houston Partnership noted in a January 31 statement. "ExxonMobil is a key participant in our Houston Energy Transition Initiative, and we look forward to working with the company as we continue to position Houston to lead the energy transition to a low-carbon future."

Since the announcement, ExxonMobil has grown its Houston presence by signing on as a founding partner at the Ion, a Midtown Houston 266,000-square-foot building developed and managed by Rice Management Company, last summer. The company joins existing Ion founding partners Aramco, Chevron Technology Ventures, Baker Botts, and Microsoft, as well as affiliate partners bp and Intel. The company joins the Ion "to help develop solutions for the world’s emerging energy issues," per the June 13 news release.

“ExxonMobil has been a leader in energy technology for over a century. Collaboration is essential to both augment our capabilities and accelerate the development of scalable solutions,” said Linda DuCharme, president of ExxonMobil Technology and Engineering Company, in the release. “Our partnership with The Ion will enable us to tap into the extraordinary talent in Houston.”

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Oxy subsidiary secures Microsoft as largest-ever DAC carbon removal credit customer

major move

Occidental Petroleum’s Houston-based carbon capture, utilization and, sequestration (CCUS) subsidiary, 1PointFive, has inked a six-year deal to sell 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide removal credits to software giant Microsoft.

In a news release, 1Point5 says this agreement represents the largest-ever single purchase of carbon credits enabled by direct air capture (DAC). DAC technology pulls CO2 from the air at any location, not just where carbon dioxide is emitted.

Under the agreement, the carbon dioxide that underlies the credits will be stored in a below-the-surface saline aquifer and won’t be used to produce oil or gas.

“A commitment of this magnitude further demonstrates how one of the world’s largest corporations is integrating scalable [DAC] into its net-zero strategy,” says Michael Avery, president and general manager of 1PointFive. “Energy demand across the technology industry is increasing, and we believe [DAC] is uniquely suited to remove residual emissions and further climate goals.”

Brian Marrs, senior director for carbon removal and energy at Microsoft, says DAC plays a key role in Microsoft’s effort to become carbon-negative by 2030.

The carbon dioxide will be stored at 1PointFive’s first industrial-scale DAC plant, being built near Odessa. The $1.3 billion Stratos project, which 1Point5 is developing through a joint venture with investment manager BlackRock, is designed to capture up to 500,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.

The facility is scheduled to open in mid-2025.

Aside from Microsoft, organizations that have agreed to buy carbon removal credits from 1Point5 include Amazon, Airbus, All Nippon Airways, the Houston Astros, the Houston Texans, and TD Bank.

Occidental says 1PointFive plans to set up more than 100 DAC facilities worldwide by 2035.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott demands answers from Houston power company following Beryl

investigation incoming

With around 270,000 homes and businesses still without power in the Houston area almost a week after Hurricane Beryl hit Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday said he's demanding an investigation into the response of the utility that serves the area as well as answers about its preparations for upcoming storms.

“Power companies along the Gulf Coast must be prepared to deal with hurricanes, to state the obvious,” Abbott said at his first news conference about Beryl since returning to the state from an economic development trip to Asia.

While CenterPoint Energy has restored power to about 2 million customers since the storm hit on July 8, the slow pace of recovery has put the utility, which provides electricity to the nation’s fourth-largest city, under mounting scrutiny over whether it was sufficiently prepared for the storm that left people without air conditioning in the searing summer heat.

Abbott said he was sending a letter to the Public Utility Commission of Texas requiring it to investigate why restoration has taken so long and what must be done to fix it. In the Houston area, Beryl toppled transmission lines, uprooted trees and snapped branches that crashed into power lines.

With months of hurricane season left, Abbott said he's giving CenterPoint until the end of the month to specify what it'll be doing to reduce or eliminate power outages in the event of another storm. He said that will include the company providing detailed plans to remove vegetation that still threatens power lines.

Abbott also said that CenterPoint didn't have “an adequate number of workers pre-staged" before the storm hit.

Following Abbott's news conference, CenterPoint said its top priority was “power to the remaining impacted customers as safely and quickly as possible,” adding that on Monday, the utility expects to have restored power to 90% of its customers. CenterPoint said it was committed to working with state and local leaders and to doing a “thorough review of our response.”

CenterPoint also said Sunday that it’s been “investing for years” to strengthen the area’s resilience to such storms.

The utility has defended its preparation for the storm and said that it has brought in about 12,000 additional workers from outside Houston. It has said it would have been unsafe to preposition those workers inside the predicted storm impact area before Beryl made landfall.

Brad Tutunjian, vice president for regulatory policy for CenterPoint Energy, said last week that the extensive damage to trees and power poles hampered the ability to restore power quickly.

A post Sunday on CenterPoint's website from its president and CEO, Jason Wells, said that over 2,100 utility poles were damaged during the storm and over 18,600 trees had to be removed from power lines, which impacted over 75% of the utility's distribution circuits.

Things to know: Beryl in the rearview, Devon Energy's big deal, and events not to miss

taking notes

Editor's note: Dive headfirst into the new week with three quick things to catch up on in Houston's energy transition.

Hurricane Beryl's big impact

Hundreds of thousands of people in the Houston area likely won’t have power restored until this week, as the city swelters in the aftermath of Hurricane Beryl.

The storm slammed into Texas on July 8, knocking out power to nearly 2.7 million homes and businesses and leaving huge swaths of the region in the dark and without air conditioning in the searing summer heat.

Although repairs have restored power to nearly 1.4 million customers, the scale of the damage and slow pace of recovery has put CenterPoint Energy, which provides electricity to the nation's fourth-largest city, under mounting scrutiny over whether it was sufficiently prepared for the storm and is doing enough now to make things right.

Some frustrated residents have also questioned why a part of the country that is all too familiar with major storms has been hobbled by a Category 1 hurricane, which is the weakest kind. But a storm's wind speed, alone, doesn't determine how dangerous it can be. Click here to continue reading this article from the AP.

Big deal: Devon Energy to acquire Houston exploration, production biz in $5B deal

Devon Energy is buying Grayson Mill Energy's Williston Basin business in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $5 billion as consolidation in the oil and gas sector ramps up.

The transaction includes $3.25 billion in cash and $1.75 billion in stock.

Grayson Mill Energy, based in Houston, is an oil and gas exploration company that received an initial investment from private equity firm EnCap Investments in 2016.

The firm appears to be stepping back from energy sector as it sells off assets. Last month EnCap-backed XCL Resources sold its Uinta Basin oil and gas assets to SM Energy Co. and Northern Oil and Gas in a transaction totaling $2.55 billion. EnCap had another deal in June as well, selling some assets to Matador Resources for nearly $2 billion. Click here to continue reading.

Events not to miss

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

  • 2024 Young Leaders Institute: Renewable Energy and Climate Solutions is taking place July 15 to July 19 at Asia Society of Texas. Register now.
  • CCS/Decarbonization Project Development, Finance and Investment, taking place July 23 to 25, is the deepest dive into the economic and regulatory factors driving the success of the CCS/CCUS project development landscape. Register now.
  • The 5th Texas Energy Forum 2024, organized by U.S. Energy Stream, will take place on August 21 and 22 at the Petroleum Club of Houston. Register now.