Solar thermal energy could create steam for operations at an Oman oilfield. GlassPoint Solar has finished the first block of what will be a 1,021 megawatt (MW) solar plant, Miraah, for Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) – that will help them save around 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
Miraah will be comprised of 36 blocks, or greenhouse-like structures housing solar arrays to protect them from harsh conditions like dust storms and strong winds, at the Amal West oilfield. According to GlassPoint, “The greenhouse enables major cost and performance advantages compared to exposed solar designs, from reducing overall material usage to automated washing operations.” The solar plant will concentrate sunlight with the help of large mirrors to boil oilfield water into steam. The plant recently delivered its first steam for the oilfield – and when finished will generate 6,000 tons of solar steam every single day.
The steam will be used for thermal enhanced oil recovery, where steam is injected into an oil reservoir, heating the oil, according to CleanTechnica. It’s then easier to pump the oil up to the surface.
Natural gas often helps generate steam, but the Miraah solar plant will save around 5.6 trillion British thermal units of natural gas a year. Miraah will offer the same amount of carbon savings as if 63,000 cars left the roads.
PDO Managing Director Raoul Restucci said in a statement, “Solar-powered oil production is a sustainable, long-term solution to meet the Sultanate’s future energy demand and utilize its natural resources most efficiently…Miraah is a real statement of intent from PDO as we begin the transition away from an exclusive focus on oil and gas to becoming a fully-fledged energy company with a greater focus on renewables.”
Images via GlassPoint Solar