What the OTC means to Houston - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

What the OTC means to Houston

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Rooms are booked at Hotel Icon in downtown Houston. Steve Dennis is the hotel’s general manager.

"This is the Super bowl of energy,” Dennis said.

Dennis is referring to the business that comes with the 45th Offshore Technology Conference, known as OTC, which is currently underway in Houston.

"They're expecting more than 90 thousand attendees,” said Lisa Jammer.

Jammer is with the University of Houston's Bauer College of Business.

The business school has its own OTC booth, and will soon offer a first of its kind five year program offering a combined engineering and MBA degree to students.

"The oil and gas industry has kept us alive in that particular area,” she said of Houston’s ability to avoid the major financial troubles other American cities experienced in the last six years.

"Where some cities are struggling to bounce back with current economic issues, Houston hasn’t had that issue,” she said. “If you look at overall increase, there's been 20 to 25 percent increase in employment opportunity."

Now in its 45th year, the conference itself has pumped an estimated 2.4 billion dollars into Houston’s economy since its first year.

“The tax base for the city of Houston is impacted greatly by this,” Dennis said.

Don Van Nieuwenhuise is the director of Petroleum Geoscience Programs at the University of Houston.

"This year they’re really going to be focusing more on trying to get people into the deep water more actively,” he said. “ One of the problems right now is the OTC, the Deepwater folks competing with dollars being spent on shore for horizontal drilling, fracking shale oil and shale gas. The United States is seeing an insurgence of production here in the states. We're reducing the amount of oil we have to import and that has a profound impact on the economy of the United States and the balance of trade throughout the world.”

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