Exxon Mobil will relocate the bulk of XTO Energy’s Fort Worth operation to a campus near Houston in a move that will cost the city 1,600 jobs and leave a number of downtown buildings for sale.

The oil and gas producer, which was bought by Exxon in 2010, announced the move to its employees Friday. Company officials said that 1,200 employees will be moved to Houston in 2018 with another 400 transferring in 2020, the company said.

XTO will keep about 350 employees assigned to XTO’s Central Division/Fort Worth District as well as some Midstream Operations employees in the field supporting Barnett shale operations. The expanded Central Division/Fort Worth District employees will move from the Stockyards to one of XTO’s downtown buildings when space becomes available.

XTO, founded in Fort Worth by Bob Simpson and Steve Palko, is credited with contributing to the rebirth of downtown Fort Worth by buying and rehabilitating a number of old office buildings.

The company plans to sell six of the seven buildings it owns in downtown Fort Worth in a phased marketing approach, said Sueann Guthrie, a company spokeswoman.

Bill Thornton, president & CEO of Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, released the following statement:

"XTO Energy, a home-grown legacy company, has been an outstanding industry leader, a generous community supporter and excellent steward of historic buildings in downtown Fort Worth for decades. It's hard to hear the announcement of their move.

In time, we expect to fill downtown office space, but it will be difficult to replace the civic partnership we have enjoyed with XTO and its employees.

Fortunately, Fort Worth's diversified economy is prepared to absorb industry changes like this. And XTO's refurbishing of their buildings, plus a new parking garage, leave us well-positioned to market the space to expanding and relocating companies."

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