Move expected to take place sometime later this year
FARMINGTON — Oil industry leader BP America Inc. announced today that 40 jobs will be lost and other employees will relocate to Durango, Colo., when its Farmington office closes later this year.
The office will close “by the end of the year to help improve the efficiency and competitiveness of its operations in the San Juan Basin,” the company said this afternoon in a prepared statement.
No specific timeline was given for the closure.
“Two smaller field offices in San Juan County, New Mexico, will remain open, though some field staff will shift to working remotely,” the statement said.
BP will open a new headquarters in Denver for its lower 48 businesses sometime in 2018.
“It sure hurts,” said state Rep. James Strickler, R-Farmington. “It’s just another blow to the local economy.”
Strickler estimated the region has lost 7,000 jobs in the last three or four years, which hits the local economy and real estate market.
He said the sale of ConocoPhillips’ San Juan Basin assets will mean a migration of its oil executives to Houston.
“Our population has shrunk from 130,000 to 115,000 since the 2010 census,” Strickler said.
“It sure hurts. It’s just another blow to the local economy.”
While many are not happy with the news, some see it as a logical step for the corporation.
The move is “not completely unorthodox” since the firm is consolidating its headquarters in Denver and wants its offices in one state, Four Corners Economic Development CEO Warren Unsicker said.
“They’re moving a lot of chips, it would seem, from a corporate perspective, across the U.S.,” Unsicker said.
In fact, despite the loss of local jobs, he said there could be a silver lining in having BP executives move from Texas to Colorado.
“We may have more access to leadership than in the past,” Unsicker said.
BP’s overall investment in New Mexico will not decrease, the company statement said. “BP will continue to safely and responsibly operate our 2,600 wells in the state, and we will seek to drill new wells in New Mexico when feasible.”
Farmington Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Audra Winters said the closure is a loss for the community.
“It’s not only the jobs,” Winters said. “They supported community events and volunteered.”
Winters said she hopes BP will see the value of returning to Farmington in the future.
Note: This article was expanded from its original version to include more information.