WHY IS GE OIL AND GAS INVESTING IN NEWCASTLE? ALMOST all of the UK's oil and gas production comes from offshore, where there is a network of 14,000 km of pipelines linking 107 oil platforms, 181 gas platforms and a large number of subsea installations. There are over 380 producing fields.
The North East of England is strategically located close to busy oil and gas offshore sectors in the UK and Norwegian North Sea, and has a long heritage of high-tech energy and manufacturing industry.
This is why GE's Oil and Gas group, including its pipeline inspection joint venture with Al Shaheen, PII Pipeline Solutions, has been investing in local expertise developed over several decades.
We are an international company, specialised in engineering design, manufacturing and service of technologies that supply the oil and gas industry. We provide applications in many areas: from drilling and offshore operations, to transportation of hydrocarbons and refining, all the way to fuel dispensing pumps.
We are continually pushing technological boundaries, using our global research capabilities, and technology transfer. We are pioneering advanced manufacturing techniques and developing the concept of the 'industrial internet' - embedding smart technologies in our equipment to enable remote monitoring and control, that sounded like science fiction just a few years ago.
This is why we were involved in the British Science Festival celebrated in September in Newcastle. These events are key to inspiring the next generation of engineers as Joseph Byrne from the British Science Association, commented: "Visitors will become inspired by some of the great science we are seeing from the academic partners that we are using, some of the great engineering we are seeing from our industry partners such as GE Oil & Gas, really take up that mantle for science and engineering moving forward as a legacy of this festival".
With ongoing investment in innovation to maintain the highest public and environmental safety standards, we recruit and train local talent and carefully choose locations based on market demand as well as the strengths and opportunities in each area. This is why we are established and growing in the North East.
SCIENCE IS IN EVERYTHING WE DO In order to improve the safety and efficiency of oil and gas pipelines around the world, we develop robotic inspection technology, using physics-based engineering design of advanced magnetic, mapping and geometry sensor technologies. By analysing the data collected by those robots (also called 'intelligent pigs'); we can determine the present and future condition of a steel pipeline.
Our teams also work on research, design and development of subsea flexible pipes conveying hydrocarbons from a sea floor wellhead to the surface. They are exponentially lighter and more adaptable to harsh sea conditions than rigid steel. Those systems can be used in depths of 3,000m and in 15,000 psi of underwater pressure.
Bruce Heppenstall, Wellstream Flexibles general manager recently stated: "Our technology allows customers to recover hydrocarbon energy in ever-more challenging environments and we are continually investing to ensure we remain a supplier of choice globally, something our employees here in Newcastle recognise and are extremely proud of."
LOCAL TALENT DELIVERS GLOBAL PIPELINE SOLUTIONS We get excited about maths, computers and physics - especially when it comes to practical applications.
We like creating things, being directly involved and seeing the results of our work, which takes both individual discipline and strong teamwork.
With tremendous recruitment and training programs, GE attracts new graduates as well as experienced professionals from other technologybased industries. Our apprenticeship programs have evolved over 10 years and cover Operations, Finance, Engineering, Information Management and Purchasing.
Subsea Systems CEO, Rod Christie, commented during the Offshore Europe Conference and Exhibition, also held in September, in Aberdeen: "The oil and gas industry offers people starting out on their careers an exciting, vibrant and challenging sector to work in and it's going nowhere but up; great news for those seeking job stability and longevity. Companies such as ourselves are making record levels of investment around the world, meaning it has never been a better time to enter the industry and join us."
"Apprenticeships give us the opportunity to hire new talent and train individuals in the specialist field of in-line pipeline inspection, which underscores the importance of these programs not just for PII but for the Cramlington and UK economies," commented Michael Bellamy, general manager, PII Pipeline Solutions during National Apprenticeship Week.
We thrive on new perspectives from diverse backgrounds. Some of us come from far away for short-term training and development opportunities or to make it our long-term home.
But most of us are from the area, partly because of GE's localisation philosophy and partly just because there's a lot of great talent in this neck of the woods.