Construction is set to move rapidly on the $125 million GE Global Research Oil and Gas Technology Center following a groundbreaking Monday led by Gov. Mary Fallin and top officials from one of the world’s largest employers.
The Oklahoma City research center is part of GE’s three-year effort to triple research and development investment in the oil and gas industry. The researchers’ work will include solutions related to production systems, well construction and water use optimization.
“GE is committed to leading the unconventional resource revolution, and technology is the core of who will win in this space,” said Lorenzo Simonelli, CEO of GE Oil & Gas. “Through increased research and development investment, the creation of tech hubs like Oklahoma City and Rio de Janeiro, and new partnership models, we are getting closer to our customers and bringing best-in-class technologies to market quicker.”
The research center, a secret prospect just a year ago, is set to open by mid-2015. Michael Ming, general manager of the research center, told a crowd of dignitaries the company has already hired 25 people from nine states. The operation is temporarily located in downtown’s City Place Tower. The research center is expected to employ 130 people when it is opened with visitors arriving from all over the globe.
“Today’s groundbreaking shows the remarkable progress we have made in such a short time to build and establish GE’s technology presence in Oklahoma,” Ming said.
Fallin described GE “as our most valuable player” and then boasted Oklahoma was chosen for the development over rival Texas. She then took a “selfie” photo with her camera that she indicated would be posted as a friendly jab to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Ming noted the location of the research center, 300 NE 9, is just south of the Oklahoma School of Sciences and Mathematics, a residential high school for gifted students, and is surrounded by research and sciences institutions. Downtown, home to Devon Energy, Continental Resources, SandRidge Energy and other oil and gas companies, is immediately to the west.