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.
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.
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