Local companies can access a new doorway of opportunity to doing business in the US following the opening of an Invest NI office in Houston, Texas.

The Northern Ireland Energy and Technology Centre was opened by Alan Hingston, Director of Trade in Invest NI during a recent Invest NI trade mission to the Offshore Technology Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition in Houston.

Houston is considered to be the oil and gas hub of the United States and Invest NI believes that a presence there offers local companies with an interest in the energy sector, an excellent means of developing business relationships with the major oil and gas players.

“Several of our IT companies are very active in the energy sector and have made enormous progress in building business relationships with US oil and gas companies. We have worked closely with these companies and with the UK Energy Industries Council (EIC) in developing a presence within this market, which is now consolidated in the opening of this office,” said Alan Hingston. “The facilities offered in the Houston office can be made available to Northern Ireland companies of whatever size, who are interested in doing business in the energy sector.”

Attending the opening were Belfast companies Biznet Solutions and SLDI, together with Londonderry company 8Over8. These companies have developed specialised niche products and services and are offering multi-national companies IT programmes and solutions that are proving to be critical in the exploration and production of oil and gas throughout the world.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Daryl Fullerton, Biznet Solutions said
“Houston is the hub of the energy sector and with Invest NI’s help we have been able to establish a local presence and demonstrate our commitment to the market and the vast opportunities it offers."

Welcoming the Northern Ireland delegation Tom Kelly, Vice-President of the Energy Industries Council, Houston, said: “These companies are excellent examples of SME’s who have spent time in developing innovative solutions and services for application in a global industry. Northern Ireland companies have worked hard to break into this highly competitive market. Having a permanent presence in Houston, through the Invest NI office, now gives them the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to the US market and specifically the energy sector. The future for these companies in the US is very encouraging”.

The Northern Ireland Energy and Technology Centre allows Northern Ireland companies to establish a presence in Houston, and the opportunity to work with the EIC, which provides valuable information on current and forthcoming oil and gas projects, and tender opportunities.