HOUSTON – Advancements and innovations in domestic energy production caused the world’s decline in oil prices over the last year, said Rich Kinder, chief executive of Kinder Morgan Inc., said at the opening session of the ULI’s Spring Meeting Wednesday.
“We are the victims of our own success,” Kinder said, referring to hydraulic fracturing and drilling innovations that have greatly increased production of oil and gas in the nation in recent years.
More than 3,400 developers, architects and other real estate professionals are attending the Urban Land Institute conference at the Hilton Americas in downtown Houston this week.
The decline in energy prices, which has prompted layoffs and cutbacks at some energy firms, has an upside, Kinder said. Low natural gas prices enable chemical manufacturers to produce chemicals more affordably, because they use natural gas as a feedstock.
Affordable natural gas has ushered in a $100 billion surge in chemical plant construction that is occurring on the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana over the next 10 years, Kinder said at ULI’s first session on Wednesday.
Other ULI conference speakers will include James A. Baker III, former federal government dignitary and chairman of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy; and ULI benefactor Gerald D. Hines, chairman of the global real estate firm Hines, which is based in Houston.
Another highlight of the meeting will be a town hall session, moderated by former U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Henry Cisneros, which will explore findings from two new ULI surveys — Generation Y and Housing and America in 2015 – both follow-ups to previous ULI reports. Cisneros will lead a discussion that will include the timely topic of how the surge of Millennials entering the housing and jobs markets will change urban development.
The ULI meeting will cover real estate and growth topics including capital markets, demographics, retail development, resiliency and climate change, global markets, housing, infrastructure and planning.
The ULI has not held a national meeting in Houston since 1992, said ULI conference co-chair Jonathan Brinsden of Midway Cos. The city has changed considerably since then, he told the conferees.
The Urban Land Institute (www.uli.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute, with 34,000 members.