Dropping an anchor in Pittsburgh was an easy choice for executives at Noble Energy Inc.
The Houston-based driller is settling into a headquarters across the street from Range Resources Corp., the largest landholder among shale drillers in Western Pennsylvania, and Consol Energy Inc., the oldest local company working the Marcellus shale.
The six-story building in Cecil’s Southpointe development that Noble will lease sits among a cluster of peers and service contractors, with easy interstate access to its well sites in Washington County and West Virginia.
The Marcellus “is quickly shaping up to be a world-class play,” said Bob Ovitz, senior operations manager for Noble’s Marcellus business unit. “Southpointe is sort of the nexus, the epicenter of what’s going on out here. … This is a great regional hub for the industry.”
That hub stretches from the Washington County business park to Cranberry in Butler County. About a dozen drilling companies, big and small, and most of the biggest Marcellus shale-gas producers in Pennsylvania chose to be here, even some that drill mostly in Eastern Pennsylvania and those, such as Noble, that do a lot in West Virginia.
It’s a unique opportunity for the region, putting Pittsburgh atop the Appalachian energy industry’s supply chain, economic experts said. Rigs move and field offices close when the rigs go, but the corporate presence taking root in Pittsburgh is a constant that can withstand the whims of a boom-and-bust industry, they said.