Hosted by BP Chairman and President Susan Dio, the ceremony marked the official reopening of the building after devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey more than two years ago.
“This building reflects BP’s commitment to modernization and transformation across the company,” Dio said to a standing-room only crowd in the new lobby. “And it reflects our commitment to Houston and Texas. Houston is the largest employer for BP anywhere in the world. Everything we do — from the Upstream to the Downstream and in between — we do here on campus.”
She thanked BP employees for being patient as the building was being renovated.
“BP has a truly talented, world-class workforce, and now we have a beautifully designed, modern workspace,” Dio added, emphasizing the flexible meeting spaces and improved common areas.
She also thanked Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
“Mayor Turner was so helpful to us – not just during the storm, but in the many months of recovery after,” Dio said. “He is a friend of BP and the energy industry.”
Turner praised BP for rebuilding and staying in Houston following the hurricane.
“You did not pack up and go someplace else, you did not move further away, you didn’t downsize, you didn’t transfer people to another city, state or country,” Turner said. “BP decided that this was a city worth investing in.”
Gov. Abbott said the re-opening of BP's campus illustrates the Houston community's resilience following Hurricane Harvey and is proof that Texas continues to come back stronger than ever before.
"BP's presence in Houston is vital to this community, and to Texas’ role as the national leader in energy production,” Abbott said. “I am grateful to BP for their continued investment, and for their work to foster an even stronger partnership with the Lone Star State."
U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, whose district includes the Westlake campus, sent her congratulations via video message. Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs and Consul General of the United Kingdom Richard Hyde also attended Thursday’s ceremony.
Before the ceremony, Orlando Alvarez, head of BP’s North America gas and power business in Houston, gave Gov. Abbott a tour of Helios Plaza.
The reopening ceremony comes a little more than two years after the first floor and basement were submerged by flooding when Hurricane Harvey struck Houston in August 2017.
Over four days, Houston experienced more than 40 inches of rain as the system moved slowly over eastern Texas. The flooding was unprecedented: hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses — including BP’s U.S. headquarters — were inundated.
At Westlake One, it was days before the water subsided and the lobby could be cleared, but even then, the basement remained flooded from floor to ceiling. Once drained, everything within was covered in muck with office supplies, furniture, computers and ceiling tiles strewn in messy heaps.
As cleaning progressed, BP leaders began discussions about how best to use the newly cleared spaces. As efforts proceeded, the decision was made: renovate and reconfigure the first floor and add amenities to boost modernization and employee well-being.
Today in 2019, the refurbished first floor includes: