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BP resettles U.S. division in Denver

Houston says it's still the U.S. energy capitol, hosting the 2020 World Petroleum Council.

By Daniel J. Graeber
BP resettles U.S. division in Denver
British energy company BP moves its U.S. Lower 48 division from Houston to Denver, calling it a "homecoming." File photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

DENVER, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- British energy company BP said it was relocating the headquarters for its Lower 48 U.S. states division from Houston to Denver as part of a "homecoming."

The company said it was moving its headquarters to Denver to be closer to assets in the region, describing the capital of Colorado as an emerging energy hub.

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"In some ways, this is a homecoming for us," David Lawler, the CEO of BP Lower 48, said in a statement. "With two thirds of our operated oil and natural gas production and proved reserves in the Rockies, world-class universities nearby and a wealth of industry expertise in the region, Denver is a logical -- and strategic -- place for us to be and a natural fit for our business."

Oil from Colorado accounts for about one out of every 50 barrels produced in the United States. Gov. John Hickenlooper said spending in the oil and gas sector declined and put some pressure on tax revenue growth, though the overall economy is expected to remain in expansion.

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Crude oil prices have recovered from steep losses earlier in the year and the budget outlook from Hickenlooper said the deep contraction that started last year may have bottomed out already this year.

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The Downtown Denver Partnership development group said the move by BP is a testament to the city's strength. Denver, it said, boasts the seventh-most educated workforce in the country when measured against other metropolitan areas. Tami Door, the development group's CEO, said BP is moving in the right direction.

"The oil and gas industry has a proven legacy and presence in downtown Denver, and it is a key economic driver for our center city as the fifth largest employment sector," she said in a statement.

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BP signed a lease for an 86,000 square-foot space in downtown Denver.

There were few statements from Houston on the departure. The city in a statement announced Thursday it was selected for the site of the 2020 World Petroleum Congress.

"Houston is the epicenter of energy on the global scale and this is where the new technologies are being developed," Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement.

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BP's Lower 48 division covers Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. Combined, it boasts a resource base of 7.8 billion barrels and produces an average of 300,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

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