Siemens AG is establishing a new oil and gas headquarters in Houston’s Energy Corridor, the latest move by Europe’s largest engineering firm to expand its footprint in U.S. fossil fuels.

A Siemens official is scheduled to detail the company’s plans during a meeting Monday with Mayor Annise Parker. “We welcome this addition to the Energy Corridor,” Parker said in a statement. “It represents strengthening of the company’s already broad involvement in the Houston region.”

The announcement comes a year after Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said at a Houston conference that the company was considering moving more of its operations to the United States to capitalize on the shale boom that has unleashed vast supplies of previously untapped hydrocarbons.

In the months since, Siemens has invested heavily to grow its oil and gas business, including agreeing in September to buy Houston-based oil field equipment maker Dresser-Rand Group for $6.5 billion.

The acquisition is not yet final. Slated to close this year, the deal has sparked an investor lawsuit and triggered an investigation by the European Union, which is scrutinizing the transaction to ensure it doesn’t reduce competition so much that prices rise.

The company’s deeper dive into oil and gas is occurring against the backdrop of the global oil price collapse, which has dealt a significant blow to Siemens’ balance sheet as demand slumps for oil field equipment and other products manufactured for the oil and gas industry.

The oil downturn, however, didn’t dissuade Siemens from going forward with plans to extend its roots in the energy capital.

Expanding its base in Houston gives Siemens access to a range of customers, including oil and gas producers and refiners, said Lisa Davis, Siemens’ managing board member, in a statement about the new office. “Our Houston location is critical for Siemens’ long-term growth,” she said.

Siemens already has a sizable presence in Houston, where it employs about 2,000 people across various business sectors, including maintenance services for energy companies. Among that workforce, about 100 will work in the new headquarters, housed under the same roof as existing oil and gas and marine business units, which Siemens rolled together last fall to take advantage of crossover technologies that serve both markets.

Worldwide, the company has 300 manufacturing facilities and employs more than 350,000 people.

Source: Fuel Fix