GE, Devon to develop technologies for US unconventionals

Posted on 28 May 2014

By Jesse Maldonado, associate editor

GE Oil & Gas and Devon Energy have signed a technology collaboration agreement to bring new and enhanced technologies to unconventional oil and gas projects in the US. The agreement was announced during the groundbreaking ceremony for GE’s new Oil & Gas Technology Center in Oklahoma City, Okla., on 12 May. The agreement covers the development of:

  • Advanced drilling technologies to improve performance, reduce costs and reduce environmental impact;
  • Water treatment and processing to reduce water use and better utilize water resources for unconventional oil and gas fields; and
  • Artificial lift systems, which will be used for increasing the flow of liquids from production wells.

“These agreements are intended to develop a close relationship with the customer around the development of technology,” Eric Gebhardt, Chief Technology Officer, VP of Engineering for GE Oil & Gas, said. “We saw the need in this space to create a center that would be more applied research and development. We are taking the technologies from the technology stage into a first prototype and working directly with the customers. Oklahoma City was a great location, especially in the unconventional space with the close proximity of the customers and the universities, which can provide a very high skilled workforce.”

GE’s new technology center is scheduled to open in Q3 2015. Mr Gebhardt said GE has already hired 25 people into their roles and expects to hire five people per month going forward until it reaches the target of 130 high-tech professionals.

Part of the technology center’s role will be to pull together technologies from GE’s existing eight R&D centers around the world. “It’s already starting to have big benefits for the General Electric Co,” Mr Gebhardt said. “For instance, in our center in Bangalore, India, we’re developing multiphase flow metering technology that will feed into oilfield optimization solutions that will be developed here at the center in Oklahoma. When we look at pumping technologies or at some of our subsea technologies that could fit into the oil and gas space, it will flow through this center from the eight R&D centers around the world.”

The technology center is part of GE’s three-year effort to triple R&D investment in the oil and gas industry. It will also focus on solutions related to well construction, production systems, water use optimization, CO2 solutions and energy systems.

“One exciting area is going to be around CO2, both for enhanced oil recovery technologies, as well as for hydraulic fracturing using CO2 in areas that don’t have plentiful water supplies,” Mr Gebhardt added. “We are going to be partnered on the CO2 hydraulic fracturing project with Statoil. This project is bringing partners from around the world into Oklahoma City and into this center, where we’ll be able to advance the technologies going forward.”

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