General Electric (GE) on Wednesday unveiled plans for a $110 million Global Research Center in Oklahoma dedicated to driving innovation and technological advancements in the oil and gas sector, which in turn would allow products to be brought to market faster.
The new facility, GE Research’s first devoted to one sector, is expected to initially create 125 high-tech engineering jobs.
“Unconventional resources, and shale gas in particular, may be one of the biggest productivity drivers of our lifetime,” said GE CEO Jeff Immelt, who was in Oklahoma City to make the announcement with Gov. Mary Fallin. “At GE, we see a tremendous opportunity in the oil and gas space.”
Since 2007, he noted, GE has invested $11 billion “to build broad technical capabilities that can deliver productivity gains and foster innovation for our customers. Collaboration is key to leading the unconventional resource revolution, and in Gov. Fallin and the people of Oklahoma, we’ve found excellent partners.”
The launch of the new center, noted GE, “comes as the availability of unconventional resources, such as shale gas, is changing the global energy landscape and has the potential to create jobs, fuel innovation and lead to more energy independence.” The center initially would focus on technologies that enable safe, efficient and reliable production, delivery and use of unconventional oil and gas.”
“The ability to access substantial new oil and gas resources will require significant investments in new technology over the next decade,” said GE’s Chief Technology Officer Mark Little. “At GE, we’re meeting this challenge head on, investing more than $10 billion annually across the company to launch new products and build global capability. This new center is another step in that commitment and helping create the next generation of technologies, which will make this ‘unconventional’ energy source conventional and sustainable.”
GE Oil & Gas is the company’s fastest-growing business, with 2012 revenues of more than $15 billion, and earnings and new orders each up 16%. GE’s oil and gas portfolio includes technologies and services in turbomachinery, subsea drilling, pressure control, remote monitoring and diagnostics.
“Advancements in technology are revolutionizing the way energy is produced, whether it be deeper subsea fields, hard to reach unconventional resource sources, or mature oilfields getting a second life,” said GE Oil & Gas CEO Daniel C. Heintzelman. “The creation of the new center, in close proximity to many of our customers, will allow us to accelerate the development of new technologies and enable GE to deliver even more advanced solutions to our customers faster.”
The search for a specific site for the new center is underway and expected to be completed soon. GE is evaluating locations that would help the company capitalize on the area’s academic institutions, including the University of Oklahoma, as well as the skilled workforce in the Oklahoma City area. Oklahoma City is home to GE Oil & Gas’s artificial lift business, which provides electric submersible pump manufacturing and services.
“In Oklahoma, we know that America’s energy security and economic well-being demand more domestic energy production,” said Fallin. “Technology continues to be the key to unlocking new energy resources and effectively utilizing those we have already discovered. I am thrilled that GE, with its rich history of innovation, has chosen Oklahoma as the home for these new technologies.”
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