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Oil slump slammed many companies’ revenues

Written by Collin Eaton


Falling oil prices crushed corporate revenue streams across Houston last year, plunging sales in the region to even lower levels than in the Great Recession eight years ago. Energy prices have recovered somewhat this year, easing the financial sting for the oil and gas companies that cut tens of thousands of jobs across the region. But in 2016, revenue for Houston’s 100 biggest public companies dropped to $561.7 billion, down from the $976.7 billion they collected at the height of the oil boom in 2014, according to rankings prepared for the Houston Chronicle.

Sixty-five of those companies, from top-ranked refiner Phillips 66 to next-to-last oil equipment maker Frank’s International, reported lower revenue last year compared with the year before. In 2009, during the nation’s worst economic recession in decades, revenue fell for all but 13 of Houston’s top companies, but sales still came in at $619.9 billion and increased 7 percent the following year.

The oil market collapse that began in the summer of 2014 depressed sales in both 2015 and 2016, leaving the oil companies that dominate the list of the biggest Houston companies with far less cash for investments, employee wages and expenses. In those years, oil companies cut one in three oil workers across the state, and only in recent months have workers trickled back into the industry as oil prices rise and companies send drilling rigs back into U.S. oil patches.

“This has been a really tough extended downturn,” said Andy Hendricks, chief executive of Houston drilling and pressure pumping contractor Patterson-UTI Energy.

Written by Collin Eaton

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