Tuesday, 4 October 2016
In 2005, a $310.7 million expansion for the Colorado Convention Center was completed, doubling its size. The hope was that the center's expansion would elevate the city to one of the top 10 cities in the nation for holding a convention. Denver's position near the mineral-rich Rocky Mountains encouraged mining and energy companies to spring up in the area. In the early days of the city, gold and silver booms and busts played a large role in the economic success of the city. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the energy crisis in America and resulting high oil prices created an energy boom in Denver captured in the soap opera Dynasty. Denver was built up considerably during this time with the construction of many new downtown skyscrapers. When the price of oil dropped from $34 a barrel in 1981 to $9 a barrel in 1986, the Denver economy dropped with it, leaving almost 15,000 oil industry workers in the area unemployed (including former mayor and current governor John Hickenlooper, a former geologist), and the highest office vacancy rate in the nation (30%). Since then, the industry has recovered and there remain 700 employed petroleum engineers in the region. Advances in hydraulic fracturing have made the DJ Basin of Colorado into an accessible and lucrative oil play. Energy and mining are still important in Denver's economy today, with companies such as EnCana, Halliburton, Smith International, Rio Tinto Group, Newmont Mining, Noble Energy, and Anadarko headquartered or having significant operations in the area.