Oil, gas companies expand, fueled by record production

Oil and natural-gas companies buoyed by record Northern Colorado oil production are spending millions of dollars on building expansions in Weld County.

Halliburton Co.’s (NYSE: HAL) new 199,000-square-foot building on the company’s 75 acres near Fort Lupton marks the latest major expansion of oil and gas companies in Northern Colorado. The drilling-services company completed the expansion in January, and will expand the building by an additional 20,000 square feet in December.

The new $42 million facility, which employs more than 800 full-time employees, lies near another Halliburton facility built in 1974. A spokeswoman declined to say how many employees work at the older facility.

Statewide, Halliburton employs 1,600 people. It reported a first-quarter net loss of $18 million versus a $627 million profit during the same quarter last year.

Halliburton’s expansion marks one of many under way or announced in the past year in Weld County, including large independents such as Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) to smaller companies such as Mineral Resources Inc. in Greeley.

The expansions are fed by an ongoing energy boom in which Northern Colorado has played a central role. Shale oil production from the region’s Niobrara formation led the state to extract an estimated 48 million barrels of oil last year, the largest amount since 1957, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Anadarko hopes to complete construction on a 50,000-square-foot building in Platteville this summer because it has outgrown its facility in Brighton and wanted a more central location within its operation area. The company planned to invest $1.5 billion in Northern Colorado this year.

The facility, first reported by the Business Report, will house 150 of Anadarko’s current employees and will include a field office, warehouse and yard at 501 N. Division Blvd. in Platteville. Anadarko, which declined to state the expansion’s cost, is among the largest oil and gas producers in Weld County.

Anadarko, which employs 1,000 people in Colorado, posted first-quarter net income of $460 million, down from $2.16 billion the previous first quarter.

The company, however, set a record for average quarterly sales volumes of more than 113,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from the Wattenberg field in Northern Colorado. Anadarko posted sales volumes of 81,000 barrels of oil equivalent during the first quarter of last year.

Anadarko expects its sales volumes to reach from 279 million to 287 million barrels of oil equivalent this year.

Noble Energy, another large oil producer in Weld County, moved last year from Platteville to Greeley. It completed its 66,000-square-foot headquarters at 2115 117th Ave. in Greeley in May 2012, and already plans to add space to one of the building’s wings.

The expansion would “double or triple” the size of one of the building’s wings, said Brad Mueller, director of the city of Greeley’s Community Development Department. The Business Report first reported the expansion.

Noble Energy has nearly 23 acres on its 117th Avenue site. An expansion probably would add office space to the building, Mueller said.

Noble Energy has declined to comment beyond confirming plans to expand. The company this year expects to invest $1.7 billion in the Denver-Julesburg Basin, which spans Northern Colorado and parts of Wyoming, Kansas and Nebraska.

Noble Energy posted first-quarter earnings of $261 million versus $263 million during the first quarter of last year. Despite the slight drop in earnings, the company achieved record sales volume of 92,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from the region during the first quarter.