GE to build global research center in Oklahoma for shale gas technologies

General Electric (GE) will build a new global research center in Oklahoma dedicated to driving innovation and technological advancements in the oil and gas sector and bringing products to market faster, the company said on Friday.

The new facility, which is GE Research’s first sector-specific center, represents a $110 million investment by the company and will initially result in the creation of 125 high-tech engineering jobs, in disciplines ranging from mechanical and electrical to systems and software engineering. 

These researchers will join GE’s global network of 50,000 scientists and engineers.

GE chief executive Jeff Immelt and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin jointly made the announcement at the state capitol in Oklahoma City.

The launch of the new center 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 greater energy independence, according to the company. 

GE says the center will initially focus on technologies that enable safe, efficient and reliable production, delivery and use of unconventional oil and gas.

GE Oil & Gas is said to be the company's fastest-growing business, with revenues of more than $15 billion and earnings and new orders each growing 16% in 2012. GE's oil and gas portfolio includes technologies and services in turbomachinery, subsea drilling, pressure control, remote monitoring and diagnostics.

“Unconventional resources, and shale gas in particular, may be one of the biggest productivity drivers of our lifetime,” said Immelt. “At GE, we see a tremendous opportunity in the oil and gas space. Since 2007, we have 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 Governor Fallin and the people of Oklahoma, we’ve found excellent partners," he added.

Oklahoma City is home to GE's artificial lift business, which is a leader in electric submersible pump (ESP) manufacturing and services with more than 550 GE employees.

The company says a search for a specific site for the new research center is underway and expected to be completed soon. GE is currently evaluating locations that will help the company capitalize on local academic institutions, including the University of Oklahoma, as well as Oklahoma City's regional workforce. 

GE has more information about the new center posted at its website.

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