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Crude Oil Exports and Real Estate: Thursday’s Show (January 14, 2016)

Brent Crude Oil — a major benchmark for worldwide oil prices — dropped below $30 a barrel Wednesday (Jan. 13, 2016) for the first time in more than a decade, a day after West Texas Intermediate crude — the U.S. benchmark — fell below the same threshold. Meanwhile, with a glut of oil production, sparked […]

Brent Crude Oil — a major benchmark for worldwide oil prices — dropped below $30 a barrel Wednesday (Jan. 13, 2016) for the first time in more than a decade, a day after West Texas Intermediate crude — the U.S. benchmark — fell below the same threshold. Meanwhile, with a glut of oil production, sparked by the shale gas boom, Congress last month approved lifting the crude oil export ban, and the first tankers of freely traded U.S. oil in decades left Texas ports over the last two weeks.

Are these two developments related? What does lifting the crude oil export ban mean for the Gulf Coast, the oil and gas industry and the Greater Houston economy? On this edition of Houston Matters, we ask News 88.7 FM business reporter Andrew Schneider.

Also this hour: We discuss how current economic conditions in Greater Houston are affecting the real estate market. There’s been a lot of hand-wringing over the luxury apartment rental market in particular as many upscale high and mid-rise properties have been built across the region in prime locations, but in many cases are far from fully occupied. We consider whether rents will drop to offer more options for working-class Houstonians, as we talk with Paul Takahashi, who covers residential real estate for the Houston Business Journal, and Nancy Sarnoff, a real estate reporter with the Houston Chronicle.

Then: A recent data report from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates nearly 69 percent of workers are in occupations dominated by one gender or the other. We talk with Rice University Assistant Professor of Sociology Erin Cech, who has sought to find out what’s behind that statistic, and whether preconceived notions about what motivates men and women in their career choices actually hold up.

Plus: A conversation with Rice University Anthropology Professor Zoe Wool. She spent a year at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to document what life is like for veterans who enlisted after Sept.11, 2001. She writes about her experience in her book After War: The Weight of Life at Walter Reed.

Houston Matters offers a free daily, downloadable podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and various other podcasting apps.

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