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General Electric is bringing its focus on energy to Oklahoma

General Electric is highlighting its commitment to its oil and natural gas business by establishing a global energy research center in Oklahoma City.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: April 15, 2013
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“We want our newest technology center to be a showcase for the world, for GE to bring the best technology to the oil and gas space,” he said.

Little said GE intends to partner with “great thinkers” in the industry to improve its oil and gas business.

GE Oil & Gas is the multi-business company's fastest-growing unit with revenues of more than $15 billion in 2012. Its artificial lift unit, which helps make new oil fields more efficient while making older fields productive again, employs more than 550 people in Oklahoma City.

Little said there are “hard problems” to be solved in the industry, which is why GE is establishing its eighth global research center.

“Getting resources from difficult places, higher pressures, higher temperatures, harsh environments is tough,” he said. “We need partners and we need solutions.

“We will get both.”

Taylor Shinn, Chesapeake's senior director of corporate development, said the company has been working with GE for several years, leveraging each other's expertise to help improve oil and gas industry operations.

“We pride ourselves on science and having some of the sharpest folks in the industry already, but there's always room to innovate,” he said.

Global innovation

Little said the Oklahoma City center will not stand alone.

It will be part of a global network of researchers at GE, which Little called the first industrial research laboratory in the U.S. and the last one still standing.

“We are a core of high-end scientists and engineers who support every GE business from health care to aviation to, of course, oil and gas. The future of energy, the future of flight, the future of transportation, the future of health care, the future of lighting. These are things our people dream about and create every day,” he said. “Our people are here for one purpose. That's to make the world a better place.

“I know with our research center here in Oklahoma, we'll transform our nation and the world's energy future,” Little said.

GE intends to hire at least 125 electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, petroleum engineers, geologists and system and software experts.

“These are high-end, high-paying jobs that will help us bring new oil and gas technology to the marketplace,” Little said.

Ming said the GE lab will lead to improved operations in the oil field, helping companies increase safety and cut costs.

“We've made so much progress and there's so much more to make,” he said.

Ming said GE's move also should help attract more talent to the energy industry.

“It should send really clear signals to students that this is a great field to be in,” he said.


GE is ranked as the world's third-largest company (trailing ExxonMobil and JPMorgan Chase), and world's largest conglomerate by Forbes.

2012 figures: Revenue of $147 billion, profits of $13.6 billion and assets of $685 billion.

Current market value: $244 billion

Employees: 305,000, including 134,000 in the United States

Business segments: Power & Water, Oil & Gas, Energy Management, Aviation, Healthcare, Transportation, Home & Business Solutions and GE Capital

Products and services: Include diesel-electric locomotives, aircraft engines, power generation turbines, water processing, household appliances, medical imaging devices, as well as business and consumer financing and industrial products

SOURCE: GE regulatory filings and Forbes


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