GE in Kuwait: Investing Capital, Technology, Expertise and Local Research
The total value of projects planned or under way in Kuwait grew to a record level of more than US$30 billion during 2015, a 16.4% increase that was the largest in the region. It’s no surprise, given that the government has committed US$103 billion to develop Kuwait’s infrastructure in strategic sectors including oil, electricity and water, communications, transport, health, education, housing & urban development, and the development of the financial market.
GE is supporting this growth by making investments, partnering on major projects and contributing to the development of human capital and innovation in Kuwait. This includes serving as the Innovation Partner of Kuwait University, where GE has launched the Kuwait University Engineering Innovation Forum. GE also has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Kuwait Oil Company that focuses on research and development, training and technical development.
Another major initiative that GE will open this year is the GE Kuwait Technology Center, the first GE facility of its kind to be located outside the United States. Focused on the power generation sector, the center will offer service and maintenance, and a platform for collaborative research and innovation to address local challenges.
An engineering research lab equipped with state-of-the-art computer simulators and testing labs will aid in improving the understanding of power generation operations and troubleshooting methodologies in hot and harsh environments. Across all its operations, the center will support the government’s goal of driving economic diversification, empowering youth, and promoting small-and medium-enterprises.
It’s worth noting that the Center represents a direct investment by GE in Kuwait that was approved and supported by the Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority.
GE is also supporting the country’s development by helping Kuwaiti customers leverage Predix – GE’s open, cloud-based operating system designed specifically to run software for the Industrial Internet. By blending software, big data, big machines and other large systems, Predix software helps companies unlock tremendous productivity, efficiency and operating enhancements.
Some of this software is found in the GE Store, which is the company’s way of making it easy for any GE business or project team to draw on the tremendous technology, research and knowledge available across the company. A Kuwaiti customer in the oil and gas industry has already benefited from the GE Store with a 5%-7% improvement in oil field production.
One of the company’s largest partnerships in Kuwait is the Sulaibiya Wastewater Treatment and Reclamation Plant, a facility that uses GE technology and is being expanded from 375,000 to 600,000 cubic meters per day. This will make it the largest facility of its kind in the world.
Yoshito Murakami, Chief Financial Officer at GE Power Services in the Middle East and Africa, noted many of these examples during a panel session at the Kuwait Investment Forum that looked at the legal and regulatory environment conducive to foreign investment.
More generally, the forum highlighted Kuwait’s success at creating an encouraging investment environment by simplifying procedures, enabling a favorable legislative framework for the encouragement and protection of investment, and offering a host of incentives and exemptions, including allowing for 100% foreign ownership.
GE, which has been a partner to Kuwait’s development for four decades, provides technology that delivers nearly 37% of Kuwait’s power generation, has a market share of nearly 70% in the healthcare sector, supports 800 pieces of GE Healthcare equipment serving the nation’s hospitals, and provides technology found in 54% of Kuwait Airlines’ fleet. Operating through three offices, as well as the Oil & Gas Artificial Lift Facility and Pressure Control Facility, more than 275 employees serve customers in the government and private sector. That represents a near doubling of the company’s workforce in just three years.