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, the company says.
In announcing the new center, GE chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt said shale gas may be “one of the biggest productivity drivers of our lifetime” and has the potential to create jobs and lead to energy independence. He said the center will initially focus on technologies that enable safe and efficient production, delivery and use of unconventional oil and gas including shale gas.
GE says the search for a specific site for the new center is under way and expected to be completed soon. The company is currently evaluating locations including the University of Oklahoma and sites in the Oklahoma City area. Oklahoma City is home to GE Oil & Gas’s Artificial Lift business that manufactures electric submersible pumps.
The center will create 125 high-tech engineering jobs initially, in disciplines ranging from mechanical and electrical to systems and software engineering, GE says.
Last month, Chevron, Shell and other natural gas companies and environmental groups formed a new Pittsburgh-based center that will set fracking standards for the Appalachian Basin. The Center for Sustainable Shale Development (CSSD) has established 15 initial performance standards that the groups say will ensure safe and environmentally responsible development of the region’s abundant shale gas resources. These standards place limits on flaring, reduce engine emissions, encourage maximum water recycling and reduce the toxicity of the fracking fluid. The standards will form the foundation of the CSSD’s independent, third-party certification process.
The natural gas industry is technologically capable of tapping shale gas resources, but some companies may have trouble managing the environmental and social risks involved, according to a report published in March by the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute.
Photo Credit: GE