Not All the Texas Energy News is Glum

Oil prices are still struggling, and workforce strikes have expanded at many refineries. But not all the news is glum. Here are five things to know in Texas energy this week:

By Jordan BlumMarch 5, 2015 11:07 am,

Energy job cuts show no signs of slowing down. The latest to announce big cutbacks is Houston-based Dresser-Rand Group Inc. (NYSE: DRC), which will cut 8 percent of its global workforce, or almost 650 jobs, as the energy sector continues to struggle.

Dresser-Rand, which is being acquired by German industrial giant Siemens AG for $7.6 billion, will begin its workforce reduction plan within the next several weeks.

Athough most of the focus is on the rapid downturn in Texas shale rig counts, some of the most pessimism is coming from offshore drillers, which see a more-extended decline in activity. Companies like Transocean Ltd. (NYSE: RIG) are seeing big losses, and the Ensco PLC (NYSE: ESV) CEO referenced a “multiyear downturn.” Even the Saudis are terminating offshore drilling contracts.

Some companies though are taking advantage of the marketplace with drop-down deals and more. San Antonio-based Valero Energy Partners LP is taking over refined petroleum terminals in Houston and Louisiana after purchasing two subsidiaries of Valero Energy Corp. for $671 million. Valero Energy Partners LP (NYSE: VLP) is buying subsidiaries Valero Partners Houston LLC and Valero Partners Louisiana LLC from Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO).

Also, even with slumping energy prices, momentum is continuing to grow for the first round of bidding this year for Mexican energy reform. Ancillary Texas businesses in areas like translation services and more are expected to benefit as well.

While a struggling energy sector often leads to more leadership turnover, the changes potentially create more opportunities for diversity in oil and gas. One such example is Houston-based Wood Group Mustang engineering firm naming Michele McNichol as its new CEO. McNichol, who had served as executive vice president of the company, will succeed Wood Group Mustang President Steve Knowles, who will retire April 1.