Wild Goose Chase

One of the frustrating tings about my job is that, in the oil and gas industry, companies change on a daily basis. Sometimes the changes are minor (e.g., a reshuffling of upper management [1]) and sometimes they are major (e.g., a merger [2]). Right now, my company is going through a medium-size change; it has just moved from one location in Houston to another. And that has caused me to go through a major change. I’m moving (again [3]).

Why would I voluntarily put myself through the pain and torment of moving? Money and time (but mostly money). In its old location, I could travel to my company in fifteen minutes and never had to get on the highway [4]. In the new location which is located twelve miles from the old one, I have to either drive an extra hour and a half and pay no tolls or drive an extra forty-five minutes and pay $5 in tolls each way. If you add up the extra distance (20 miles @ $0.5/mile * 20 days/month = $200/month) and the extra tolls [5] ($10 per day * 20 days/month = $200), I’m paying $4,800 each year for the privilege of working in the new location [6].

And that’s why I’m moving. I can sell my house in Katy and make a nice profit on it (about 25%) and use most of that money to buy a new place and the rest to pay off a mortgage on one of my rental homes. I’ll end up with a new home that is closer to the office, which will save me that $400/month, and a lower mortgage payment, which will save me even more, and pay off a mortgage, which will – well, you get the picture. So, as is often the case, I’ll have to go through a little short-term pain (moving, selling the place, setting up the new one) in order to reap a long-term gain.

Just call it the story of my life…



[1] Which only matters if the upper management starts moving “downstream”; i.e., becoming less involved with oil and gas and more involved with making money. That inevitably signals a shift to a company that is less focused on finding hydrocarbons and more focused on making money. Strangely enough, once that happens, they inevitably make less money. Go figure.

[2] I fully expect a wave of mergers in the oil and gas industry sometime soon. If you look at the annual balance sheets (the “book value” of the company) and compare them to the stock capitalization (the “market value” of the company found by multiplying the number of shares by the price per share), you’ll see that most oil and gas companies are undervalued by 20-40%. Put another way, they are on sale for 40% off. A big company could snap up a little one for cheap and increase its assets at a lower cost than actually drilling for oil and gas.

[3] This will be my tenth move overall and my second since coming back to Houston.

[4] In Houston, this is a good thing. Though they aren’t as bad as Miami drivers, Houston drivers still exude a combination of machismo and idiocy that lends a certain piquant uncertainty to every trip.

[5] There ain’t no way I’m sitting in that traffic. I value my sanity and my time much more highly than that!

[6] For the record, Houston mass transit doesn’t go to the new location (unless you want to go downtown, swap buses and come back out) and my company doesn’t have van pools.


2 thoughts on “Wild Goose Chase

  1. It’s not a bad thing. Until Ken and I moved into this house we were each in the habit of moving every 2-3 years. That meant the amount of crap we accumulated among our belongings was kept to a minimum. Now that we’ve lived in the same house for nearly 15 years we have way too much stuff and very little incentive to purge. Thought of in that light, moving is a very good thing.

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