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McClatchy-Tribune  07/30/2014 12:01 AM ET
Chevron puts Moon HQ plans on hold [The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review :: ]

July 30--Chevron Corp. put on indefinite hold its plan to possibly build a regional headquarters on land the company bought in Moon while it focuses on revenue-generating projects around the globe, the company said on Tuesday.

The delay does not indicate any financial troubles in the company or an intent to back away from its Appalachian gas operations, spokesman Trip Oliver said.

"It's an indication of the large number of high-quality projects that Chevron has worldwide that have potential value to the shareholders," Oliver said.

The decision jeopardizes a project that could add several hundred employees to the California oil and gas giant's presence in Western Pennsylvania while revitalizing a closed Kmart site. Moon officials were eager for the township's largest development since the former Pittsburgh airport terminal was built in 1952.

"There's some disappointment, but I think the situation is, it's still a go," said township Supervisor Jim Vitale. Company officials told community leaders about the decision recently.

"It's just a situation where they have so many projects going on, and there isn't enough money right now to get the project underway," Vitale said. He remains "very confident" the company will build a regional headquarters in Moon in a year or more.

"I still think they're still very bullish on Moon," he said.

Chevron said in May 2013 it bought two adjoining parcels off Montour Run Road. Records show it paid $17.5 million for the land. In land-use applications that the township approved in December, Chevron said it would build an Appalachian-Michigan Business Unit headquarters. It estimated to township leaders that the headquarters would house about 1,000 workers.

Oliver said the company never made a final decision on the project. The company employs about 700 people in two offices in Moon and one in Smithfield, all supporting its gas exploration and production activity in the Marcellus and Utica shale.

"Chevron remains committed to this region," Oliver said.

The company has no plans to sell the land.

During what Oliver called a "unique capital-intensive period," the company is focused on money-making projects such as liquefied natural gas terminals in Australia and Canada, and off-shore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, he said.

"The corporation has decided that it is better at this point in time to invest its capital in projects of that kind of nature," Oliver said.

San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron is the world's ninth-largest energy company, based on its production of oil and natural gas. It reported net income of $21.4 billion last year on revenue of $228.8 billion.

Chevron has 64,500 employees around the world and is involved in nearly every part of the energy industry, from production and transportation of crude oil and natural gas to refining and distributing fuels and lubricants.

The company has said it expects to invest $1 billion in each of 15 major energy production projects over the next four years.

This month, Chevron told investors it expects second-quarter profit to be higher than the same period last year because of gains on asset sales and fewer one-time charges. It reports second-quarter earnings on Friday.

David Conti and Alex Nixon are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Conti can be reached at 412-388-5802 or dconti@tribweb.com. Nixon can be reached at 412-320-7928 or anixon@tribweb.com.

 

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