GE fracking, PITTSBURGH — One of America’s corporate giants is investing billions of dollars in the new boom of oil and gas drilling, or fracking. General Electric Co. is opening a new laboratory in Oklahoma, buying up related companies, and placing a big bet that cutting-edge science will improve profits for clients and reduce the environmental and health effects of the boom.
like the oil and gas base because we see the need for resources for a
long time to come,” said Mark Little, a senior vice president. He said
GE did “almost nothing” in oil and gas just over a decade ago but has
invested more than $15 billion in the past few years.
doesn’t drill wells or produce oil or gas, but Little said the
complexity of the fracking boom plays into the company’s strengths.
Wells are being drilled horizontally at great depths in a variety of
formations all around the country, and that means each location may
require different techniques.
are big differences in how surrounding communities view the boom.
There’s been little controversy in traditional oil and gas states such
as Oklahoma, but nearby landowners in Pennsylvania, Colorado and other
states have complained of environmental and health effects.
own view is these things can be managed,” Little said of concerns about
drilling, adding they need to be managed carefully. He drew a parallel
to GE’s work with the aircraft industry, since many decades ago flying
was considered a risky business, but the industry evolved so that even
as the speed, distance and number of flights increased, overall safety
also pointed out that GE has significant experience in wind energy,
solar and nuclear power. “I think the world needs all of these kinds of
systems,” Little said.
One environmentalist welcomed the news.
exciting to see. I think it is a positive response to legitimate public
concerns about the environmental impacts” of the fracking boom, said
Michael Shellenberger, one of the founders of Oakland’s Breakthrough
added that other companies are working to reduce and clean up
wastewater, use more benign fracking methods, and reduce air pollution
related to drilling.
“It’s the kind of continuous improvement of technologies that’s needed,” Shellenberger said.
said the GE strategy ultimately comes down to looking at “minds and
machines together.” For example, they have devices that can literally be
put down into a well to give people on the surface information about
exactly what’s happening a mile or two below ground.
get more information than ever before,” he said, and that can be used
to help improve production and profits, and to monitor and reduce
Source : http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/viewart/20130527/BUSINESS/305270028/GE-making-big-play-fracking