Special to The Sun
OKLA. CITY —
General Electric will build a Global Research Center in Oklahoma dedicated to driving innovation and technological advancements in the oil and gas sector and bringing products to market faster.
According to Gov. Mary Fallin’s office, the new facility, which is GE Research’s first sector-specific center, represents a $110 million investment by the company and will result in the creation of 125 high-tech engineering jobs initially, in disciplines ranging from mechanical and electrical to systems and software engineering.
Officials said these researchers will join GE’s global network of 50,000 world-class scientists and engineers who are working to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges.
GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt and Fallin made the announcement Wednesday at the state Capitol. It comes at a time when the availability of unconventional resources such as shale gas are changing the global energy landscape.
The center initially will focus on technologies that enable safe, efficient and reliable production, delivery and use of unconventional oil and gas.
GE Oil & Gas is the company’s fastest-growing business, with revenues of more than $15 billion and earnings and new orders having each grown 16 percent in 2012.
“Unconventional resources, and shale gas in particular, may be one of the biggest productivity drivers of our lifetime,” said GE Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt.
Immelt said GE sees a tremendous opportunity in the oil and gas space. Since 2007, the company has invested $11 billion to build broad technical capabilities that can deliver productivity gains and foster innovation for its customers, Immelt said.
“Collaboration is key to leading the unconventional resource revolution, and in Gov. Fallin and the people of Oklahoma, we’ve found excellent partners,” Immelt said.
Oklahoma City is home to GE Oil & Gas’s Artificial Lift business, which is a recognized leader in electric submersible pump manufacturing and services with more than 550 GE employees.
The search for a specific site for the new center is under way and expected to be completed soon. GE is currently evaluating locations that will help the company capitalize on the renowned academic institutions, including the University of Oklahoma, as well as the skilled workforce in the Oklahoma City area.
Fallin said Oklahomans know that America’s energy security and economic well-being demand more domestic energy production.
“Technology continues to be the key to unlocking new energy resources and effectively utilizing those we have already discovered,” Fallin said. “I am thrilled that GE, with its rich history of innovation, has chosen Oklahoma as the home for these new technologies.”
“Their announcement (Wednesday) is one more indication that our state is nationally and even internationally recognized as a leader in energy and the home of a dynamic and robust economy. Whether it’s international powerhouses like GE or small businesses, Oklahoma is a fantastic place to locate and to invest in.”
Mark Little, GE’s senior vice president and chief technology officer, said accessing substantial new oil and gas resources will require significant investments in new technology during the coming decade.
“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,” Little said. “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’s Artificial Lift business will benefit from the close proximity to the new center, officials said. Artificial lift technologies are of growing importance as they can make new oil fields more efficient and mature fields that were once viewed as depleted, productive again.