By harnessing the sun’s energy with GlassPoint’s Enclosed Trough technology, the solar enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project produces a daily average of 50 tons of emissions-free steam that feeds directly into existing thermal EOR operations at Petroleum Development Oman’s (PDO) Amal West field. The solar steam generation plant is the first in the Middle East and one of the few in the world built for oil extraction. A row of glass produces steam to extract stubborn heavy crude oil from rock fissures underground in Oman, said venture-backed GlassPoint Solar, which announced the commissioning of the project on Tuesday.
Thermal EOR requires very large amounts of thermal energy. Large amounts of fuel are needed to generate steam for EOR projects. Solar EOR replaces fuel use with solar energy. A field of solar reflectors concentrate the sun’s thermal energy on water to produce steam at the same quality and temperature as fuel-fired steam. In sunny locations, solar steam can provide up to 80% of an EOR project’s annual steam requirements, reducing fuel use without impacting production rates.Solar EOR reduces EOR fuel costs and helps operators hedge against fuel price volatility.
GlassPoint’s solar EOR solution produces emissions-free steam, eliminating all nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate emissions, and CO2 associated with fuel combustion.
Today, EOR applications account for a significant portion of Oman’s annual natural gas consumption. By incorporating solar steam, PDO can significantly reduce the amount of natural gas it burns to produce steam for EOR. GlassPoint’s solution can cut natural gas used for EOR by up to 80 percent, helping Oman release its natural gas resources fo.r higher value applications such as power generation, desalination, industrial development or export as LNG.“PDO is widely recognized as the EOR pioneer throughout the Middle East,” said Rod MacGregor, GlassPoint CEO. “Deploying the region’s first solar EOR project further underscores its leadership and commitment to advancing new technologies that will economically expand production of existing reserves.”
In 2011 GlassPoint had introduced the first commercial Solar Steam EOR project in California’s Kern County. The project also incorporated GlassPoint’s Single Transit Trough (STT) technology, the first new solar thermal technology in decades. The project was built in less than six weeks.
GlassPoint’s unique Enclosed Trough design encloses parabolic mirrors inside a glasshouse structure, protecting the solar collectors from harsh conditions of high wind, dust, dirt, sand and humidity common to Middle East oilfields.