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Image courtesy of BP.

BP is relocating its U.S. onshore headquarters from Houston to Denver, Colorado.

BP confirmed on Wednesday that it will move its U.S. Lower 48 onshore business headquarters in Denver.

BP has signed a lease for 86,000 square feet of office space in the Riverview building at 1700 Platte St. in the Lower Highlands district near downtown Denver.

The company anticipates the office will open with at least 200 employees, including the CEO and executive leadership team, with more staff to be added later.

The move highlights Lower 48’s continued momentum despite the current challenging energy price environment.

The move also marks a return to Denver, where BP legacy companies once had a significant presence.

The company said the move was made “to be closer to its substantial asset position in the Rocky Mountain region and an important energy hub of the future.”

“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,” CEO of BP Lower 48 David Lawler said.

The company anticipates the office will open with at least 200 employees, including the CEO and executive leadership team, with more staff to be added later.

BP said that a number of employees from the company’s current head office in Houston will relocate to Denver, with others remaining in Houston to manage the company’s operating assets in Texas.

The new BP Lower 48 headquarters in Denver is expected to open in the first quarter of 2018.

BP’s U.S. Lower 48 onshore operations span five states – Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming – and seven oil and gas basins, covering an area roughly the size of New Jersey.