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Page added on February 25, 2009

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Downturn may green oil patch, GE chief says

General Electric Co., which provides everything from financing to high-tech machinery to the global oil and gas industry, including Canada’s oil sands, believes the crashing economy and reduced budgets in the oil patch will give green technology in the energy sector a boost.

GE’s theory runs counter to conventional wisdom, which argues green issues will be put on the back burner as politicians focus on reviving the global economy and rescuing the world’s financial system.

“With the heated market that was in Alberta not that long ago, everyone was focused on expansion of new projects, and they were also keen to get things that were in the ground completed, so they could get producing,” said Elyse Allan, chief executive of GE’s Canadian operations. “When you’re that focused and that labour-constrained, there is reticence to take on new technology.”

But now that expansion budgets have evaporated and plans have been shelved, chief executives and engineers have time–and further impetus — to explore how to make their existing and future operations greener and more efficient.

National Post

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