Immediately after World War II, several Houston-based firms organized to transport natural gas from the giant fields of the Southwest to the large utility companies that distributed energy in the urban-industrial centers along the East coast. This relatively inexpensive and clean-burning fuel quickly made spectacular inroads into markets previously served by coal and petroleum.
Texas Eastern was one of the major competitors in the post-war industry. The company's origins were unique. Early in 1947, a group of entrepreneurs led by Herman and George R. Brown, founders of the Brown & Root construction firm, purchased the Big Inch and Little Big Inch pipelines from the U.S. government, which had built them to transport crude oil and petroleum product vital to the war effort. By converting these pipelines to the transportation of natural gas, the founders of Texas Eastern got in on the ground floor of a dynamic industry.
With full access to company files, Christopher J. Castaneda and Joseph A. Pratt follow the company from its creation in 1947 to its purchase by Panhandle Eastern Corporation in 1989. During this period, Texas Eastern's strategy focused on expansion of its natural gas system and diversification into other related industries including liquefied natural gas sales, North Sea oil and gas production, and Houston real estate.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the company faced a series of
challenges from the energy crisis, the deregulation of natural gas, and the hostile takeover movement in the energy industries. By the late 1980s, the process of diversification had come full circle, as the company sold off subsidiaries and refocused on the transmission of natural gas as a part of Panhandle Eastern's vast system.
What Readers Are Saying:
" . . . provides many insights into corporate strategy and tactics." --Review of Texas Books
" . . . a well-researched study with the central theme that the company was as much shaped by public policy as private enterprise. . . . An unusual conclusion supplies the book's third value: here, the authors chronicle the firm's ultimate failure and demise. . . . The final product is a useful study which the reader, if not the firm, will enjoy." --Western Historical Quarterly
"Happily, Christopher J. Castaneda and Joseph A. Pratt have written a book that does much to fill the present void on the subject [of natural gas history]. . . . This is a well-written and judicious work. It will be of interest to all who are concerned with the business and economic history of Texas; to economists, lawyers, and readers who wish to understand the dynamic, industrial, urban, and technologically oriented society that characterized much of Texas in the second half of the twentieth century. This is corporate history at its best." --Southwestern Historical Quarterly
"This book provides some interesting insights into a company that has made a much more significant impact on the city of Houston than most people realize." --Houston Lawyer
" . . . a highly useful case study of Texas Eastern . . . " --American Historical Review
" . . . a crisp, objective, and well-written account that provides readers with an interesting perspective on the rise of the natural gas industry in the South and Texas . . . " --Journal of Southern History
"No other single source provides anywhere near the information and reasonable analysis offered in this compact volume and every library and student of our recent industrial past should add it to their collections." --Houston Review, no. 2, 1994
" . . . a thoughtfully conceived and thoroughly researched business history, complete with footnotes. The authors' extensive use of oral histories added detail and texture to the narrative." --Public Historian