Construction continues for the new GE Global Research’s Oil & Gas Technology Center in Oklahoma City – part of the company’s three-year effort to triple R&D investment in the oil and gas industry.
The $125 million facility “will be an incubator for new innovative technologies that will enable safe, efficient and reliable exploration, production, delivery and use of unconventional oil and gas,” said Michael Ming, general manager of the Oil & Gas Technology Center.
The operation is slated to open in early 2016.
The research center, which is focused on accelerating mid- to late-stage oil and gas technology development, comprises five research programs:
- Production Systems: next-generation artificial lift technologies, well pad electrification and other technologies used for production optimization.
- Well Construction Systems: development of transformational technologies for drilling and completion operations, including reducing environmental impact and footprint.
- Energy Systems: bringing modeling and analysis capability for full systems integration and optimization across the entire value chain—upstream, midstream and downstream, including building new markets for natural gas.
- Water Systems: advancing technologies to reduce, reuse and recycle water, and research new solutions that replace or eliminate the use of water altogether.
- CO2 Systems: applying new solutions for capture, transport, storage and beneficial use of CO2 including enhanced oil recovery.
The center will also explore ways to use CO2 in hydraulic fracturing that would eliminate water from the fracturing process.
Brian Rovelli leads a team of scientists, engineers and researchers to deliver technology breakthroughs in the water systems program.
“The group working here, we’re focusing on oil and gas-related technology,” Rovelli said. “We hire people with backgrounds in electronics, chemistry, computing and, of course, in oil and gas – it would be more reservoir modeling and engineering.”
As head of the water systems program, Rovelli and his team are working to make oilfield technology better and are focusing on technology to help reduce, recycle and reuse water used in the oilfield.
“The oil and gas industry is always looking for better technology, and better technology is allowing us to do what we’re doing but make it easier, safer and environmentally sound – that’s a very key component that is going on now,” he said.
“I think by putting us in this space here,” he added, “we’re trying to advance that technology and research that is of strategic importance to GE.”
What makes the oil and gas global research center innovative is that top-notch scientists and researchers from all over the world are coming together to solve real-world problems, Rovelli said.
“We’re being brought together and with the focal point – the sole purpose – of making oil and gas technology better,” he said.
“By having a dedicated center, we’re focusing GE’s energy and purpose and leveraging all of the 3,000 researchers in GE and putting that energy toward solving some very difficult problems,” he added. “Energy, water – these are things that need a real focus on that.”
GE has a handful of global research centers all over the world, including those in Shanghai and Munich. Ming said Oklahoma was selected as the site for GE’s latest global research center for several reasons, including:
- Its proximity to customers like Devon Energy, Chesapeake Energy and Continental Resources.
- Proximity to GE’s oil and gas operations.
- Ability to recruit from established universities in the state.
- The state’s business-friendly climate.
- The state’s affordability for recruiting employees moving to Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis said the research conducted at the center will elevate the engineering, science and geology programs at OSU and other universities in the region.
“Research partnerships with GE scientists and fellow universities, scholars and students will produce discoveries with far-reaching economic and environmental impact for advancing responsible energy development around the globe,” Hargis said.
“The GE research center in Oklahoma City will deliver incalculable dividends for Oklahoma’s economy and growing research community.”