Shipping giant bets on oil boom with Houston facility

Anticipating significant growth in the oil and gas sector, one of the world’s largest shipping logistics companies has broken ground on a 181,000-square-foot warehouse with office space in north Houston to house a growing number of shipments and staff.

The American arm of the Dubai-based, Swedish-owned Gulf Agency Company, or GAC, Group opened a Houston office in May 2010 with just three employees, and has grown rapidly as oil and gas production has ramped up domestically and globally.

GAC USA consists of GAC Shipping and GAC Energy and Marine Services, which provides what Bob Bandos, chief executive of GAC USA, describes as “one-stop shop” shipping logistics services to oil and gas producers. The company arranges for the delivery of mining equipment — manifolds, electronics, steel pipe — anywhere in the world where there are drilling rigs.

Major clients include British Gas and Chevron.

The new Houston facility, which will also include about 20,000 square feet of office space, will increase the company’s warehouse space here by 50,000 square feet. The facility on Central Green Boulevard near Bush Intercontinental Airport is expected to be complete in mid-July.

Houston elected officials and business executives attended a groundbreaking event on Friday.

Bandos said the reason for the expansion is “purely out of the continued growth of the oil, gas and mining logistics.”
“We’re continuing to expand our business with new customers and with existing customers that are increasing their needs overseas and locally,” he said. “And we anticipate that the oil and gas market will be strong for the next three to four years.”

Bandos said the company also is betting on the increased export of domestically produced natural gas, specifically liquefied natural gas.

“Certainly we intend to get more involved in the shale gas,” Bandos said. “We represent a lot of major oil companies that have invested in the shale gas fields and that will certainly be a part of the export, eventually, of LNG.”

As for why it took so long for GAC to open offices here, Bandos noted GAC had logistics centers all over the world and it took time for action to catch up to demand from customers.

Bandos said oil and gas logistics in Houston “represents approximately 95 percent of all oil and gas logistics, where it originates from.”

“So it was a real natural fit,” he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of freight that moves by air, ocean all out of Houston.”