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Business

In Midst Of Oil Slump, There May Be Business For Some Of Houston’s Hispanic Firms

The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce held its annual energy summit to talk about issues and opportunities in the oil and gas market.

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Photo of chamber event
Florian Martin
Laura Murillo, president of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, discusses the oil industry with Mike Loya, president of Vitol, George Gonzalez, partner at Haynes and Boone, and Adrian Bregnard with Shell (from left).

The Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's fourth energy summit was meant to let members know where things stand in the oil and gas industry and what opportunities there are.

"Certainly, No. 1, is to get that global perspective of what it really means to Houston. It can be confusing," Laura Murillo, president of the chamber, said. "There are a lot of people who are concerned and worried, and we want to make sure that they leave here with an optimistic view of what is next."

She said the industry is important to everyone in the nation's energy capital – Hispanic or otherwise.

But there are some opportunities that could benefit Hispanic businesses in particular, said George Gonzalez, an attorney with Haynes and Boone and one of three panelists at the chamber event.

"There are unique opportunities in the Mexican energy space for small and medium-sized businesses represented by the chamber, there just has to be," he said. "I mean this is a natural for our chamber."

Mexico passed energy reforms less than three years ago that opened up its oil reserves to foreign companies.

It lets firms apply for so-called "farm-outs" with Mexico's national petroleum company Pemex to drill for oil and gas.

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