GE increasing its investment in fracking technology

GE Oil and Gas, which has invested over $15 billion in the oil extraction industry over the past few years, announced recently that it will open a laboratory dedicated to studying how to improve the oil extraction process in unconventional environments, including hydraulic fracturing of shale. The lab will study water management in petroleum exploration, as well as how to meet companies’ electricity needs at oil and gas wells.

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GE modular frac manifold, one of many products developed for the unconventional resources industry. GE has invested $15 billion in the industry in the past few years, and seen revenue increase by 57 per cent.

Earlier this month GE announced that it was expanding its technology offering for the unconventional resources sector, adding Modular Frac Manifolds to its product line for the fracturing services industry. The modular frac manifold assembly consists of a variable number self-contained units, each with its own valves, blocks and frac head outlets, that allow an operator to conduct frac operations at multiple well pads.

GE Oil & Gas president Ian Milne said that the release of the modular frac manifold demonstrated GE’s commitment to the unconventional gas and oil industry.

This is the latest addition to GE’s growing portfolio of products for the unconventional resources market, which includes submersible and surface pumps, pressure control systems, blowout preventers, compressors, drilling measurement tools, meters, pipeline solutions, sensors, gas engines for on-site power generation, motors, valves and water filtration technologies.

Earlier this year, GE announced that its TM2500 gas turbine had been selected by an Alberta company for hydraulic fracturing projects. The TM2500 is a mobile, natural gas-fueled generator that produces lower levels of emissions and lower operating costs, according to Evolution Well Services.

The unconventional oil and gas industry is growing quickly and is expected to invest $40–$60 billion in North America over the next six years. The industry represents GE’s fastest growing segment: revenues have increased 57 per cent since 2009.

A senior vice president of GE Oil & Gas, Mark Little, compared the fracking industry today to the aviation industry many decades ago. At that time, it was risky to fly, but thanks in part to GE’s work, the industry evolved to where it is today, with overall safety greatly improved. The same will happen with fracking whose risks, Little said, need to be, and can be, managed.

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