Bloomberg: Forget Silicon Valley; entrepreneurial millenials are heading to the Texas oil patch
posted at 1:21 pm on May 21, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
California Gov. Jerry Brown practically laughed in Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s face when Perry brought to California his ongoing campaign to promote the Lone Star State’s business-friendly tax and regulatory charms to major companies, but Texas’s economic prowess combined with their eagerness to get on board with the unconventional drilling techniques that have spurred an oil-and-gas production boom on state and private lands in just the last few years is already taking its toll on the more chimerical California.
As Joel Kotkin at City Watch detailed back in March, a handful of big energy companies have been pulling up from California and planting roots in Texas recently as California’s regulations and permitting process become increasingly and deliberately onerous, and as Bloomberg reports today, it isn’t just well-established energy companies looking for better opportunities elsewhere. The young and the restlessly entrepreneurial are noticing that some of today’s best chances for technological innovation and wealth creation aren’t necessarily in Silicon Valley anymore:
Mark Hiduke just raised $100 million to build his three-week-old company. This 27-year-old isn’t a Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur. He’s a Texas oilman.
The oil and gas industry is suddenly brimming with upstart millennials like Hiduke after decades of failing to attract and retain new entrants. Now that a breakthrough in drilling technology has U.S. oil and gas production surging, an aging workforce is welcoming a new generation of wildcatters, landmen, engineers, investors, entrepreneurs and aspiring oil barons. …
Hiduke’s company, Dallas-based PetroCore LLC, received the $100 million commitment from a local private-equity firm in May. He and his three partners plan to buy underdeveloped land and drill shale wells, he said. They’ll draw on the expertise of their engineer, who, at 57, is old enough to be his father.
The shale boom has “created a lot of opportunity for young professionals to jump in and be given enormous responsibility,” Hiduke said by telephone May 6. “It’s pretty much tech and then energy.”
As oil and gas producers change their focus from grabbing land to drilling, young entrepreneurs are forming companies to trade everything from minerals to leases and wells to equities. They’re competing against, and sometimes collaborating with, industry veterans twice their age.
I don’t know how many more testaments we could possibly need to reaffirm the fact that the booming oil-and-gas industry is one of the few supports holding up an Obama economy that is otherwise being held together by spit, but this is definitely one of them.