O’Connor: Research leads to innovation (The Journal Record)

By Cathy O’Connor
The Journal Record

A more diverse economy has long been a goal of job creation efforts in Oklahoma City.

One area of focus has been the Oklahoma Health Center, where there has been an emphasis in the past on growing medical and bioscience employment. Most recently these efforts include the development of the GE Global Oil and Gas Research Center. This center will add other types of technology employment to the area.

This is the first sector-specific global research center developed by GE. The purpose of the facility is to develop and accelerate innovative oil and gas technologies. Construction is ongoing at NE 10th Street and E. Central Avenue and the center is expected to open later this year.

Putting Oklahoma City on the cutting edge of energy research validates the city as an industry expert and brings researchers, scientists and engineers from around the globe to assist in those endeavors. The center will also partner with local oil and gas companies to further develop technological advancements in the industry. The research center is expected to have 125 employees. Through this development, the Innovation District will continue to grow a more diversified job market for Oklahoma City.

As part of its main goal, the $125 million GE center will work to open up oil and gas technology resources to the world. Research will include technologies like new drilling systems, the use of CO2 for enhanced oil recovery or to replace water in well completions, enhancing existing technologies and reviewing ways to have precise operations procedures.

The Brookings Institution, one of the nation’s oldest think tanks, recognizes the excitement in Oklahoma City – thanks in part to the anticipated opening of the GE Global Oil & Gas Research Center. The Brookings Institute, along with the Project for Public Spaces, is working with the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, the Alliance for Economic Development and other partners to help further efforts to grow entrepreneurship and innovation in the City.

Positioning the city as a center for innovation is an attractive enticement for companies outside the state to come to Oklahoma City, and demonstrating that we have the workforce and resources to support innovation helps to further diversify our local economy.

Cathy O’Connor is president of The Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.

Read more in The Journal Record.

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