Online Lodging Marketplace Focusing on Energy Workers

Another young Austin technology company is capitalizing on the energy boom in oil-rich parts Texas.

Abydos L.L.C. is the parent company of an operating large group booking service and website called OilfieldLodging.com to provide the burgeoning number of industry workers with accommodations. Think of it as a HomeAway Inc. or TripAdvisor for energy industry workers.

Listings include housing in Texas,North Dakota and Alaska, and founder Rod Williams said he plans to expand the service to encompass oil-and-gas lodging locations globally. The demand is so strong that Williams said the website that launched in the summer 2011 is now expected to generate $5 million to $9 million before next year.

OilfiedLodging.com, which employs nine workers, generates revenues through booking fees and several other custom services. It is now finding housing for 60 to 100 workers per week and projects sales of $2 million this year.

Williams launched the company after assisting a friend book his RV park in Pearsall Texas before it was sold. The process sparked a business idea.

“I looked at the marketplace and said, ‘We need to do this for everyone,’” he said. “We’re going as fast as we can grow.”

OilfieldLodging.com is part of a trend in which Austin is attracting a growing number of energy-related companies positioning themselves amid the state’s oil-rich regions while tapping into the city’s technology resources.

The shift is happening as the demand for more domestically produced energy rises in tandem with greater access to oil in Texas. The number of oil and gas companies opening local offices has increased sharply during the last three years, and there’s little indication that it will abate soon, industry observers said.

The trend is a positive one for Central Texas because it generates business for local service companies such as accounting firms while broadening the business base in a city that some argue is still too heavy in technology and government.

Advances in horizontal drilling combined with the use of high-pressure water to extract oil from shale rock at a time when oil prices are rising steeply has created a perfect storm for oil production companies. Meanwhile, large sources of oil and gas in areas such as Eagle Ford shale in South Texas and the Permian Basin in West Texas have become worth the investment to extract oil for dozens of companies.

The Austin Petroleum Exploration Society, a networking group, was established in 2006 with 30 members. Today, it claims more than 800 members with two to seven new membership applications daily, Director Ashley Degollado said.

The applicants are joining to make connections for their businesses that range from service providers to oil producers.

“Business is good for every type of company that comes to our group,” she said. “Every type of business I talk to is growing. I don’t see it slowing down soon.”

Richard Meyn, vice president of Harlingen-based Sunbelt Express Services LLC, oversees 10 to 50 truck drivers working for the energy companies operating in several different Texas cities. Online tools obviate the need to visit each area to find the latest available accommodations for his workers.

“It’s kind of a world of its own out here.”

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Online Lodging Marketplace for Energy Workers

To learn more about oilfield housing in the shale regions of the US, go to OilfieldLodging.com or feel free to call us @ 866-645-7055

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