Job incentives were unanimously approved Tuesday for two global companies that plan to start construction this spring on manufacturing and research facilities focused on high-tech products for the oil and gas industry.
The Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust approved awarding $1 million in general obligation limited tax bond funds to GE toward development of a $125 million, 95,000-square-foot oil and gas research laboratory to be built at NE 10 and Central. The incentives award is based on GE hiring 128 people.
Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations, meanwhile, was awarded $850,000 as it prepares to build a new manufacturing plant and research facilities at the southwest corner of the Kilpatrick Turnpike and U.S. 77. The award is based on Baker Hughes hiring 475 people.
Representatives of both companies reported Tuesday that they expect construction to begin within the next 60 days.
Tom Shaginaw, University Research Program Manager at GE Global Research, advised the estimate of 125 jobs is “conservative” by design.
“We’re going to exceed that,” Shaginaw said. “Our building is built to handle 250, and the site can handle more beyond that.”
Shaginaw reported a dozen employees already were hired and working at temporary offices at City Place Tower downtown. He said hiring will average five per month, with about 80 hired when the new research lab opens in the summer of 2015.
Shaginaw said the development will impact area universities and other companies as GE seeks to collaborate on projects.
“We’re clearly going to have to partner with outside entities, universities and other companies for their labs and expertise,” Shaginaw said.
Shawn Carter, tax policy director with Baker-Hughes, said he also expects construction to begin this spring on a new manufacturing complex in northwest Oklahoma City.
In addition to creating 475 jobs, the company is planning to invest between $128 million and $150 million on land, new plants, high-tech robotics, machinery and inventory.
The new Oklahoma City operation will be the company’s only site in the United States to incorporate high-tech robotics as part of creating motors for oil and gas companies.
Carter said the jobs in Oklahoma City will include relocation of some positions that are at oversees operations.
“Right now we can’t produce enough at our other sites. Our expectation is we will turn this into a 24/7 shop,” Carter said.