From 11th to 16th September, an entourage of over twenty institutions and companies from Asturias visited directors of multinationals in Houston with the aim of strengthening ties and opening new channels of collaboration in the field of energy.
North America is interested in Asturias. An Asturian entourage, comprising representatives from IDEPA, the Port of Gijon and Aviles and FEMETAL, among others, travelled to Texas in early September to demonstrate to the various North American public-private companies and administrations the advantages of collaborating with Asturias, and to highlight the region as an ideal investment destination for those looking to widen their market in Europe. Their trip was a success. The North American companies that the Asturian group were able to visit between 11th and 16th September – a total of twelve, among which were oil multinationals such as Exxon Mobbil, and Texas Medical Center, a major hospital centre and American cluster – have confirmed their interest in analysing plans in collaboration with Asturias.
One of the main business cases of the entourage was based on productive capacity, the industrial fabric, logistic and technological infrastructures, the region’s strategic location, human resources, etc. available in Asturias, not forgetting other sectors such as the agro-food industry. In fact, representatives from the “Asturias for foodies” consortium – Sidra Trabanco, Conservas Agromar and Queso Rebollín– and from the ICT sector – Mobentis Multisoft– attended the interviews, which along with metal-based companies and the Ports of Gijon and Aviles, were in charge of representing the Asturian market in Texas before companies linked to oil, gas, engineering and healthcare, as well as technology clusters.
In turn, the Musel and the Port of Aviles were introduced as an entrance and exit channel for goods and energy products between the USA and Europe. Currently the Port of Houston Authority is the busiest port in the country in terms of foreign tonnage, and the second nationally in total tonnage. The expansion of the Panama Canal has increased the business volume and it is working intensively to present the “Port of Houston” brand. This context provides an excellent setting for the importation and exportation of goods between both continents, especially industrial and agro-food goods.
Houston, the energy capital
This is not the first time that Asturias has made contact with Houston. Representatives from the multinational Jacobs visited the region in May this year in search of suppliers. The company, with representation in 30 countries, its headquarters in California and an annual turnover that exceeds 1,000 million dollars, considers Asturias to be a Hub of Excellence for the manufacture of capital goods, both because of the level of its companies as well as its strategic location and logistics infrastructures.
The Asturian entourage paid a second visit in September. As well as Jacobs, Houston plays host to other international companies that feature on the Forbes Top 2000 list in the field of engineering and services for oil projects, gas and chemical plants, among others. In fact, the economic significance of oil, gas and petro-chemical sectors and their positioning in the global value chain, are fundamental to the economic dynamism of Texas. However, the growth of other sectors over recent years, such as health services, renewable energies, aeronautics, electronics and robotics, has positioned Houston in the international market in more than just traditional sectors.
Asturias visits multinationals with headquarters in Texas
Within this context, the Asturian group had the opportunity to introduce Asturias as an investment destination to directors from various companies, including Exxon Mobil Corporation, a North American oil company with presence in 40 countries, whose main activity is to disseminate, create and commercialise oil and natural gas products.
Within the engineering group, the Asturian guests also visited the leading company Fluor. With presence across the six continents, it has had its headquarters in Asturias since 1992 with the company SacyrFluor. It is one of the largest engineering companies in Spain and one of the few with such capacity and international-level experience in engineering, purchasing, construction and maintenance projects in the energy and industrial sector.
The entourage also visited the headquarters of other multinationals and governmental entities such as Cheniere Energy, a company specialising in Liquefied Natural Gas – LNG – the Spain-Texas Chamber of Commerce, the Commercial Office of Spain in South East USA, BBVA Compass, Port of Houston, the legal services company Haynes and Boone, the Office of the Governor of Texas in Austin, the oil and gas company Apache Corporation and the engineering companies Jacobs, and WorleyParsons.