General Electric (NYSE: GE) today announced that it 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 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. 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 Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin made the announcement at the state capitol here today. 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. The Center will initially focus on technologies that enable safe, efficient and reliableproduction, 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. GE has grown its oil and gas portfolio to win in today's dynamic landscape, bringing to bear industry-leading 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 GE Chairman and CEO Jeff 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."
Oklahoma City is home to GE Oil & Gas's Artificial Lift business, which is a recognized leader in electric submersible pump (ESP) manufacturing and services with more than 550 GE employees located here. 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.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said, "In Oklahoma, we 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. I am thrilled that GE, with its rich history of innovation, has chosen Oklahoma as the home for these new technologies. Their announcement today 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."
The new research center will become part of GE's growing global Research network. With Centers around the world, GE Global Research is the hub of technology development for all of GE's businesses, acting as an innovation incubator to bring products and solutions to market faster.
Mark Little, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, GE said, "The ability to access substantial new oil and gas resources will require significant investments in new technology over the next 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. 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. 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.
Daniel C. Heintzelman, President and CEO, GE Oil & Gassaid, "Advancements in technology are revolutionizing the way energy is produced, whether it be deeper subsea fields, hard to reach unconventional resource sources, or mature oil fields getting a second life. 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."
This center represents another major GE investment in U.S. technology research. In the past three years alone, GE has established an Advanced Manufacturing and Software Center outside of Detroit, Michigan; started a new global software center in Silicon Valley; and added 100 new researchers to its global research headquarters in upstate New York. Taken together with the new Center, the total number of R&D jobs being created will exceed 2,300 and represent an investment totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.