Hallilburton agrees not to leave San Antonio

After threatening to leave San Antonio, Halliburton Co. has reached an agreement with the city to remain there. The company had talked of moving its Eagle Ford Shale operation out of the city contending it was being taxed unfairly.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that under a complex deal struck in 2016, the Houston-based oil-field services giant avoided city annexation on its 150-acre property in southeastern Bexar County but agreed to pay the city for fire services.

But Halliburton wound up paying twice for fire protection when an overlapping jurisdiction that oversees emergency services in unincorporated Bexar County passed its own sales tax.

Halliburton won’t be required to add jobs under the proposal, said Rene Dominguez, the city’s economic development director. But Dominguez said the deal was necessary to keep Halliburton’s $270 million in assets — including land and mobile equipment referred to as “rolling stock” — in San Antonio.

“The idea of them actually moving those was a legitimate threat,” Dominguez said. “They certainly had the ability and still have the ability to move that rolling stock to another part of Texas.”

The company, however, downplayed the possibility of moving the operation.

Halliburton “has a long-term presence in San Antonio and is heavily invested in the area in both our operations and our employees who live and work in the region,” company spokeswoman Emily Nir said in an email. “Our goal is to ensure that we operate in the most economically viable way which includes working with the City of San Antonio on local tax requirements.”

Halliburton opened the center in 2013 on Loop 1604 just west of Interstate 37 on the South Side. In January 2014, the Houston company’s site became part of a limited-purpose annexation area that encompasses four square miles of southeastern Bexar County.

Limited-purpose annexation gives cities three years to decide whether they want to annex an area. Meanwhile, residents of the area may vote in City Council elections but don’t pay city taxes. Developers must also abide by certain city land-use regulations.

City officials warned that annexing Halliburton could spur the company to relocate its Eagle Ford operations, according to a 2016 agenda memo.

Amid the oil crash beginning in 2014, the city agreed in 2016 to remove Halliburton’s property from the annexation area and not to annex the site for 10 years in order to keep the company’s Eagle Ford Shale operations here. In exchange, Halliburton promised to:

Keep 500 full-time jobs assigned to the San Antonio site

Pay all employees at the site at least $24,876.80 annually, the area’s living wage in 2016 — and 70 percent of those employees at least $47,400

Pay $1.5 million annually to the city it would have paid in sales and use and property taxes

Pay $2 million toward community workforce development efforts