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Energy company anticipates expansion in Southpointe

| Monday, Dec. 31, 2012, 10:32 p.m.

Noble Energy, a Houston-based company with offices at Southpointe in Washington County, is seeking more office space to accommodate a planned expansion of its 100 employees here, a company official said Monday.

The energy firm came to Pennsylvania to tap into the Marcellus shale-natural gas drilling and quickly ramped up its local operation during 2012, said Stacey Brodak, Noble's manager of community and media relations.

It filled around 85 percent of its positions by hiring locally, she said.

“While many factors can affect our growth, we currently anticipate increasing our staff significantly over the next few years,” Brodak said. “As a result, we are considering proposals for a permanent office location throughout Washington County. We have already expanded within our current building.”

Noble has been working with Consol Energy Inc., which has offices in Southpointe, she said.

Noble said in December it plans to spend $750 million to support the drilling of 140 wells with Consol. In August 2011, Noble agreed to purchase a 50 percent interest in Consol's Marcellus holdings of 628,000 net undeveloped acres for nearly $1 billion and a 50 percent interest in Consol's existing Marcellus production and infrastructure for nearly $232 million. Noble agreed to fund about $2.1 billion of Consol's future drilling and completion costs for an eight-year period.

“We are excited about our future in the Marcellus and expect to be a contributor to the local and regional economy for decades to come,” Brodak said.

Although most office buildings in Southpointe are close to full occupancy, several new buildings are planned at Southpointe II. The location along Interstate 79 offers companies quick access to hotels, retail outlets and restaurants nearby.

Burns & Scalo Real Estate Services is developing two buildings, including one in which ANSYS Inc. would be a tenant.

CEO Jim Scalo said the buildings would be certified “green” by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, “a first for any Southpointe building.”

“We will be developing a high-quality campus on the remaining 30 acres in Southpointe II, a campus that will sit at the highest elevation in the park,” he said. Horizon Properties Group has two office buildings in the works for Southpointe II, said Mike Swisher, a Horizon principal.

Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7843 or sspatter@tribweb.com.

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