GlassPoint and PDO to build $600mn solar plant

Plant is set to be one of the largest in the world

The plant is set to be the largest in the world.
The plant is set to be the largest in the world.

Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and GlassPoint Solar on Wednesday announced plans to build a $600mn solar oil recovery plant in South Oman.

With 1,021 megawatt capacity, the plant is set to be one of the largest solar plants in the world. It will harness the sun’s rays to produce steam, which will be used in thermal Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) to extract heavy and viscous oil at the Amal oilfield.

The plant called Miraah, or 'mirror' in Arabic, will deliver the largest peak energy output of any solar plant in the world, GlassPoint said.

Once complete, Miraah will save an estimated 5.6 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) of natural gas each year, the amount of gas that could be used to provide residential electricity to 209,000 people in Oman.

The project will break ground this year with steam generation from the first glasshouse module in 2017. It is also expected to reduce CO2 emissions by over 300,000 tonnes annually, the equivalent of taking 63,000 cars off the road, GlassPoint said.

Raoul Restucci, managing director of PDO, said at the contract signing ceremony in Muscat: “PDO is proud to lead the industry by deploying solar-powered oil production at an unprecedented scale and level of efficiency. The project will provide a significant portion of the steam demand at Amal and is an important part of PDO’s production plans.

“The use of solar for oil recovery is a long-term strategic solution to develop PDO’s viscous oil portfolio and reduce consumption of valuable natural gas, which is needed elsewhere to diversify Oman’s economy and create economic growth. It also will displace diesel and higher carbon intensive power generation and oil burning in future thermal projects.

“PDO has been a pioneering force in EOR for a number of years and it will play an increasingly important part in the Company’s portfolio, accounting for around a third of our production by 2023.”

Rod MacGregor, president and CEO of GlassPoint Solar, said: “The oil and gas industry is the next major market for solar energy. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to produce heavy and viscous oil, with a typical oil field consuming the same amount of energy as a small city. PDO is the global leader in oil and gas innovation and the first to realise the value of using solar to replace traditional fuel sources to generate steam for EOR.”

MacGregor added: “GlassPoint is thrilled to embark on a new era of partnership between the oil and solar industries. Our efforts with PDO will pave the way for additional large-scale solar EOR developments at oilfields around the world.”

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