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US embassy officials with PDO and GlassPoint officials at the pilot plant

US embassy officials with PDO and GlassPoint officials at the pilot plant



Solar thermal park project advances

The deployment of solar energy to facilitate the extraction of crude oil comes with tremendous savings as PDO will soon realise with its ambitious EOR project

December 2015

A giant solar thermal park project in Oman took a big step forward with the groundbreaking for construction at the Amal oilfield in the south of the country.

Leading construction and technical services company Parsons won a contract to provide the front-end engineering design (Feed) for the giant 1,021-megawatt park project which is being jointly developed by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and California (US)-based GlassPoint Solar .

Parsons will provide the basic engineering for the initial construction phases of the massive facility designed to harness solar energy to produce heavy and viscous oil from the Amal field.

The solar enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project, dubbed  Miraah (mirror in Arabic), centres on the installation of a large number of parabolic trough mirrors that will capture solar thermal energy to produce the massive quantities of steam necessary to heat the reservoir to stimulate the flow of heavy crude to production wells.

PDO plans to invest an estimated $600 million in the venture which will rank among the world’s largest solar thermal plants boasting a peak energy output of one gigawatt.

The mega project dwarfs all previous solar EOR installations and is more than 100 times larger than the pilot project built by GlassPoint for PDO in 2012 and which proved that solar is a viable source of steam for EOR.

Miraah will use concentrating sunlight to generate 6,000 tons of solar steam each day. The steam will feed directly to PDO’s existing thermal EOR operations, providing a substantial portion of the steam required at the Amal oilfied.

 

SAVINGS

GlassPoint Solar said the project will help save 5.6 trillion BTUs (British thermal units) of natural gas each year, which can be utilised for higher-value purposes in Oman thus boosting economic growth.

The full-scale project will comprise 36 glasshouses, built in succession and commissioned in modules of four. When complete, the total project, including supporting infrastructure, will span an area equivalent to about 360 football pitches. Steam generation from the first glasshouse module is projected to begin in 2017.

GlassPoint has been operating in Oman since early 2012. By deploying GlassPoint’s innovative solar steam generators, oilfield operators can reduce EOR gas consumption by up to 80 per cent and valuable natural gas supplies can be released for use in power generation, desalination or industrial development, diversifying Oman’s growing economy.

The Oman subsidiary of GlassPoint, set up under the United States – Oman Free Trade Agreement (FTA), is pursuing an in-country value strategy to bring more training, experience and jobs to individuals and communities in Oman.

A report published by Ernst & Young in January 2014 found that full-scale deployment of solar EOR in Oman could contribute more than $12 billion in Omani Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create thousands of permanent jobs by 2023.




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