Shell moving most Houston operations out of downtown to west side

Company seeks to 'optimize resources for future'

HOUSTON – After 45 years as a Houston landmark, One Shell Plaza is losing its marquee tenant.


Shell Oil Company announced Tuesday that it will move most of its operations out of the downtown Houston headquarters to its facilities on the city’s west side.


Natalie Mazey, spokeswoman for Shell, said in a statement that the company is moving all staff currently in the Central Business District to the Woodcreek facility in the Energy Corridor and the Shell Technology Center on Highway 6.


Mazey said that the decision is an effort to meet the ever-changing market conditions and optimize resources for future opportunities.


Employees of the trading division will remain downtown, Mazey said.

"Shell values our position and presence in the Houston area – for our ongoing business, offshore and onshore training needs and long-time relationships in the community," Mazey said in a statement. "Houston also remains critical to our core business; it’s where we have much of our expertise, including engineering and operations support, as well as two technology/research centers."


Industry analyst Barbara Shook, with Energy Intelligence Group, said the move is connected to the downturn in oil prices.


“In the face of the downturn, they don’t need the office space anymore,” she said.


Shook said Shell is consolidating employees and office space after laying off thousands of employees and merging with BG Group.

“They’ve cut back on the number of people in the Houston area. They’ve got lots of empy space in the two facilities they have out on the west side.” Shook said.


The Shell Tower was opened in 1971 to accommodate Shell Oil’s move from New York to Houston. Topping out at 50 stories, it was at the time the tallest building in the city.


The building is managed by Hines Interests. The company was unable to say if the name of the building will change.


The move will take effect during the first quarter of 2017, Mazey said.

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