ShareThis Page

Chevron may build regional HQ at campus in Moon

| Thursday, May 2, 2013, 12:11 a.m.

Chevron Corp. is acquiring two adjoining parcels of land in Moon that it may use for a regional headquarters campus — an apparent sign that the gas industry boom is prompting the energy giant to plant more permanent roots in the region.

The news marks a dramatic turn for California-based Chevron, long known locally for its role in Pittsburgh's 1980s decline. It absorbed Gulf Oil Corp. in a $13 billion deal that moved Gulf's headquarters from the city in 1984.

Chevron's resurgence in Western Pennsylvania began in 2010 when it agreed to buy Moon-based Atlas Energy Inc. for $4.3 billion.

Chevron did not disclose the price it is paying for the 61 acres along Market Place Boulevard, the site of a soon-closing Super Kmart and the vacant parcel behind it.

The company is considering the site for a campus that would consolidate its regional headquarters from two rental buildings in Moon, but a final decision has not been made.

“We are committed to this community, to contributing to a vibrant regional economy, and to producing energy supplies that will fuel this region and our nation for generations,” Bruce Niemeyer, vice president of Chevron's Appalachian/Michigan Business Unit, said in a statement.

The company has 400 workers in Moon, split between the two buildings where it rents space. Chevron spokesman Trip Oliver declined to say whether the company is planning to increase the size of its headquarters workforce but did note the company had doubled its Pennsylvania employees to 650 in two years.

Oliver cautioned against interpreting the land deal as signaling “our future plans” but said the company expects to be “here for decades.” He said Chevron won't decide what to build on the land until later this year and will make a detailed announcement after that.

However, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he views the move as a sign the company will add employees and believes the announcement will lead to more growth. When a multi-national giant like Chevron makes a decision like this, all the contractors that work with the industry will see it as a sign that they can invest and grow in the region, too, said R.T. Walker, a real estate consultant.

“For them to make a commitment here — well, that isn't temporary space here, they're laying down roots here,” said Walker, president of the oil and gas division at Beynon & Company Inc., downtown Pittsburgh. “This is going to lay to rest anybody's question on whether this is short-term or long-term. This is going to be multigenerational.”

Chevron holds 714,000 acres in the Marcellus shale, seventh most, ahead of Exxon Mobil and Pittsburgh-based EQT Corp., according to data from the research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie.

The company looked at land all over the Greater Pittsburgh region, Oliver said. The spot it settled on, just off Montour Run Road and the Parkway West, will give it great visibility, Walker said. It is right next to the headquarters of FedEx Ground and GlaxoSmithKline, about 10 minutes east of Pittsburgh International Airport.

The two parcels had a combined value of about $21.5 million in the county's 2013 property assessment, online records show. The property owners could not be reached for comment.

Chevron wanted to be near the airport because of its worldwide reach, Fitzgerald said. It also chose a spot near the Interstate 79 corridor, popular for drilling companies from Cecil to Cranberry because of the easy access to some of the most profitable drill sites in the state north and southwest of Pittsburgh.

Timothy Puko is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.