Rigzone Ranks the Top 10 Oil & Gas Cities in the World

Rigzone Ranks the Top 10 Oil & Gas Cities in the World

Nicknamed the Mile High City because of its elevation, Denver was established in 1858 just east of the Rocky Mountains as a mining town during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. Originally known as Denver City, the city was named after Kansas Territorial Governor James W. Denver. At the time, the area was part of Kansas Territory. Later, Denver City's name was shortened to Denver after it became the capit al of the Colorado territory, which was created in 1861. Completion of the Denver Pacific Railroad in 1870 that linked Denver to the transcontinental railroad enabled Denver to prosper as a supply and service hub.

Energy Impact

While gold mining brought the first settlers to Denver, companies that are part of the air transportation, telecommunications, aerospace, and manufacturing industries are also found in Denver today. A number of oil and gas companies are also present in Denver, including Halliburton, Noble Energy Inc., Anadarko Petroleum Corp., EnCana Corp., EOG Resources Inc., and GE Oil & Gas.

Innovation in multi-stage hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technology has allowed the oil and gas industry to begin exploring Colorado's unconventional resources. These resources include shale and tight sands within three basins. Of these plays, the Niobrara currently is the most active, according to a report by the Institute for 21st Century Energy. Some analysts have estimated the Niobrara, which is mainly a liquids-rich play, to hold reserves of approximately 2 billion barrels of recoverable oil reserves, according to the Colorado Oil & Gas Association.

Unconventional oil and gas activity in Colorado created 77,600 jobs in the state in 2012, according to the second part of a report by the Institute for 21st Century Energy into the impact of unconventional resources on the U.S. economy. The number of jobs in Colorado supported by shale activity will grow to 121,398 in 2020 and 175,363 in 2035. Unconventional oil and gas activity contributed value-added economic activity of more than $11 billion in Colorado last year; that contribution is estimated to grow to more than $26 billion by 2035.

The nine-county Metro Denver and northern Colorado region ranked fourth for fossil fuel energy employment and seventh among the nation's 50 largest metros for clean technology development concentration in 2012, according to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. The energy industry cluster employs more than 44,000 people in the area, and the state of Colorado ranked tenth in fossil fuel energy jobs. Energy research centers and universities such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Colorado School of Mines are also found in the Denver area.

The energy industry not only has impacted Denver's economy in real life, but in prime time as well – the popular 1980s TV soap opera, "Dynasty" followed the lives of a wealthy oil family living in Denver.

City Highlights

Denver residents can enjoy an active lifestyle, thanks to the city's proximity to the ski resorts and outdoor recreation opportunities in the Rocky Mountains, as well as the city's golf courses, dog parks, swimming pools and tennis courts. Not surprisingly, Denver's access to outdoor recreation opportunities means its residents are among the healthiest in the United States. In 2011, Forbes magazine ranked Denver fifth among America's Top 20 Healthiest Cities. The city's overall good weather, performing arts and cultural opportunities, panoramic view of the Rockies and excellent schools make Denver an ideal place to work.

Residents and visitors can glimpse the city's past at historical sites such as the Molly Brown House – the home of the Unsinkable Molly Brown, an American socialite and philanthropist who survived the sinking of the Titanic – to Denver's Four Mile Historic Park, which features the city's oldest standing structure and exhibits of pioneer life in the West. Other landmarks and attractions include Colorado's state capitol building, the U.S. Mint and Elitch Gardens, an amusement park located in downtown Denver. The city offers something for everyone, from art and science museums to performing arts and sporting events to its aquarium, zoo and botanical gardens.

Author: Karen Boman


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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.

Diego Pimentel  |  April 06, 2015
The only city on the list that may be higher than Houston is Dubai.
Steve  |  April 08, 2014
I believe the point of the article was highlighting the favorite cities for O&G, as in best places to live and work. Not sure why Houston would make the top ten then. Wasnt meant to be the biggest O&G cities. No offense, but the only people that want to live in Houston are Houstons.
Shawn  |  July 05, 2013
I think people are missing the point, its not saying by the numbers, its a 360 of living/working there.
Guy From Aus  |  July 03, 2013
The article says favourite O&G city, so I guess this is just popularity contest. Houston still number one for sure. Aberdeen and London right up there too.
Jamie  |  May 22, 2013
I agree with Robert. Houston still remains the #1 O&G city when you look at the numbers. Its great that other cities are getting a "piece of the pie". As for CP, he needs to do a little more research
Eric  |  May 21, 2013
Hello? Odessa
Deneen  |  May 20, 2013
Actually, Denver is know for its upcoming Oil and Gas Prospects, so it does not surprise as they are probably in a hiring state of mind and thus are reaching out to Houston to find the quality of expertise they need to cultivate and grow bigger in Oil and Gas... Hands down... the UK and Houston for the USA has the experts in the field and who cares if your city is better smelling... Houston and the GOM smells like Money to me :-)
DJ basin  |  May 12, 2013
Having lived in both Houston and Denver, they both have pluses and minuses. Houston is an oil and gas capital like NYC, London, Frankfurt, etc are to finance. If you want opportunity for growth, Houston will probably offer more. Denver has great opportunities for skiing, and hiking if you want to wander to the mountains. Denver gets unpredictable snow storms especially in spring and temperatures can swing day to day by 40-50 degrees F sometimes when cold fronts come in. Colorado has the US highest incidence of skin cancer so make sure to wear sunblock since the sun is intense here in summer. Houston does have a lot of running and biking clubs (MS150 anyone?) and beaches if you want to go to Galveston or wander down to Corpus Christi... Houston is hot and humid in summer which may be uncomfortable but good for your skin my wife tells me. Also the heat I guess is why A/C got invented. Houston is only a few hours away from Austin and San Antonio if you want to go to hill country. Both cities are good for meeting people as a lot of people have moved in from other places, but Houston is much more diverse and international than Denver (with direct flights to Europe). Last month when I flew to London, we went through Houston ironically. If your not in oil and gas and a dual career couple though, Denver is a tougher job market than Houston. One of my co-workers quit last month and I know of multiple couples that move to Houston because Denver lacks job opportunities for a trailing spouse / other non-engineering professionals. Traffic can suck in both Denver and Houston. I take light rail in Denver and took the express buses in Houston -either place if you can ride public transport, take advantage of it. Anyway, I like both places but they do have pluses and minuses to consider. [I really like Calgary too and was glad to see it as #2 as I have relatives and vacationed there a couple summers ago.]
Robert Patlovany  |  May 07, 2013
Maybe some comments writers didnt actually read the story very carefully. Houston still dominates the world oil and gas business scene. This article is simply a popularity pole of important oil and gas towns. For example, "Im not sure how Denver beat out Houston for the U.S. Just seems crazy." It is crazy if you take this article as anything but a popularity pole result. Houston still rules the oil and gas business with no close second place.
cp  |  May 07, 2013
whats not to love? Business is booming and the quality of life is sooooo much better than Houston. People actually walk outside here and there is clean air. Take that Houston!
prince  |  May 06, 2013
I am surprised, London is not in top 10. All major operators and EPC contract ors are based here.
Rob C  |  May 06, 2013
Way to go Denver!!!
Oilman  |  May 06, 2013
Denver is a big up and coming city in oil and gas with great growth prospects and its a great place to live.
Bill Leake  |  May 06, 2013
Thats both flattering and a "been there, done that" assessment. Denver has had--as I recall--three prior oil booms--and busts--in just the 50 years Ive lived here. It would be nice if we dont again go through the predictable, "Please, God, give me another oil boom and I wont piss this one away!" Its both amusing and off-putting to observe the usual scenario of buying Gulfstreams, monstrous (ostentatious) houses and profoundly gauche "bling" and then filing for bankruptcy seemingly only months later. Variety may be the spice of life but its monotony that brings home the bacon.
Fred Price  |  May 06, 2013
I love Pittsburgh, PA. Well get to #1
Ben  |  May 03, 2013
Houston is the energy capitol of the world. Period.
Trevor  |  May 03, 2013
Denver beat Houston because Houston is awful!
Luba  |  May 03, 2013
everyone knows Calgary is the centre of the world....
james  |  May 03, 2013
I am not a big fan of Houston at all, but Im not sure how Denver beat out Houston for the U.S. Just seems crazy