Petroleum Development Oman and GlassPoint Solar plan to develop a 1,021-megawatt solar-power project in South Oman.
The Miraah project will be a solar thermal facility, where he steam will be used in thermal EOR to extract heavy and viscous oil at the Amal oilfield. Miraah will deliver the largest peak energy output of any solar plant in the world. The scope of this landmark project underscores the massive market for deploying solar in the oil and gas industry.
The plant will provide a sustainable solution for EOR steam, which is currently produced by burning natural gas. Once complete, Miraah will save 5.6 trillion British Thermal Units 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 generate an average of 6,000 tons of solar steam daily for oil production, dwarfing all other solar EOR installations. The system will deliver steam to Amal’s existing thermal EOR operations, meeting a sizable portion of the field’s steam demand.
The full-scale project will comprise 36 glasshouse modules, built and commissioned in succession in groups of four. The total project area, including all supporting infrastructure, will span three-square kilometres, an area equivalent to more than 360 football pitches. The actual solar field will span less than two-square kilometres.
The project will break ground this year with steam generation from the first glasshouse module in 2017. Once complete, Miraah will deliver more energy to the customer than any other solar plant in the world. The project is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by over 300,000 tons annually, the equivalent of taking 63,000 cars off the road.
“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,” said Raoul Restucci, Managing Director of PDO. “It also will displace diesel and higher carbon intensive power generation and oil burning in future thermal projects.
PDO has been working with GlassPoint since 2010 on a successful pilot scheme at Amal to test the commercial viability of solar steam which produced 50 tons of steam a day. The 7-MW solar steam pilot will continue to operate at Amal alongside the full-scale development.