Test of time

Jordan McCracken, a lab technician at Intertek, tests for aluminum with the atomic absorption spectrometer in the company’s new Texas City lab. Intertek, which tests the quality and quantity of petroleum products for clients, recently built the new 13,000-square-foot facility on Fourth Avenue South in Texas City to accommodate growth and demand for services. 



Room for the boom: Need evidence that strong oil prices, the shale boom and robust energy activity in Texas is boosting this county’s economy? Just look at 728 Fourth Ave. S. in Texas City, where Intertek recently built 13,000 square feet of facilities to accommodate growth and demand for services, which include analytical testing support to refineries and chemical plants. 

The new facilities replace the cramped building of less than 5,000 square feet at 101 20th S., where Intertek, formerly Caleb-Brett, operated for years. 

The Texas City branch is part of Intertek’s commodities division, which tests the quality and quantity of petroleum products for clients, including Marathon Petroleum and Valero Energy refineries.  

When someone buys petroleum products, they naturally want quality assurances and to know they’re getting the amount for which they paid. Intertek is a third-party independent inspector which provides buyers and sellers with assessments. 

In its 25 years in Texas City, the company has grown steadily. But the state’s energy industry and oil boom is going strong. In the past five years, Texas City has seen a pronounced uptick in industry activity, Intertek branch manager Michael Calais said. 

Before building its new facility, Intertek in Texas City was sending a great deal of product to its Deer Park laboratory. The Texas City facility allows Intertek to offer faster turnarounds and better service, Calais said. 

The larger lab and new instrumentation allows quality control testing for an expanded range of feedstocks and products, including crude oil, refined fuels and petrochemicals, officials said. And the facility allows for enhanced testing and crude oil rail-car inspection to handle the increased use of shale oil as a feedstock by local refiners. 

About 50 employees work at Intertek’s new facilities — six of them newly hired to work in the larger lab.  

Intertek, which is headquartered in London, has a network of more than 1,000 laboratories and offices and more than 36,000 employees in 100 countries.

Buzz delivery: For north county residents pining for Peproni Rolls, there’s tasty news. As promised, Double Dave’s Pizzaworks has returned to League City, 2500 Marina Bay Drive, under new management. Avi Kc acquired the franchise and reopened the popular pizzeria after making renovations. 

Kc always has liked the concept, which he thinks is a great place to grab a beer, watch some football and enjoy the food, he said. Feedback has been positive. “Everybody likes it,” he said.

Strong stats: Island residential real estate sales for the first three quarters rose 19 percent to 509 sales this year compared with 426 a year ago. 

Almost all areas on the West End saw big gains. West End beach-side sales rose to 64 in the first three quarters, compared with 44 sales a year ago, marking a 45 percent spike. But neighborhoods behind the protective seawall — Adler, Colony Park, Cedar Lawn, Evia and others — saw 51 sales in the first three quarters, compared to 32 for the same period, a 59 percent increase. 

The island’s Sand ’N Sea Properties provided the statistics, which include all sales by all real estate firms that supply data to the Multiple Listing Service. 

Winging it: Inquiring readers want to know what’s up with Flamingo Bar and Grill, 6028 Heards Lane on the island. 

In September, owner Bob Greig reopened the establishment after it had operated less than a year as Flamingo Steak and Seafood. The new concept and menu had a sports bar feel. Readers are wondering about operating hours. The establishment is closed Tuesdays, according to an answering machine message. The Flamingo Bar and Grill said it opens 4 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Greig could not immediately be reached for comment. 

Want to talk about it? Visit the Buzz Blog at galvnews.com.

Shoptalk: Stylish gift and home décor shop Natural Groove, 8111 state Highway 6 in Hitchcock, is planning its seventh annual holiday open house from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For information, call 409-986-4200. 

Laura Elder is a reporter for The Daily News. Biz Buzz appears Tuesdays and Thursdays. Email your tips and suggestions to laura.elder@galvnews.com.

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