GlassPoint Solar and Occidental of Oman have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that could result in the development of a 2GW solar thermal energy plant at the Mukhaizna oilfield in the Sultanate of Oman.


Image: GlassPoint, Occidental sign MoU for 2GW solar thermal energy plant at Mukhaizna oilfield. Photo courtesy of GlassPoint Solar, Inc.

For the proposed plant, GlassPoint will deploy its solar technology to produce up to 100,000 barrels of solar steam per day.

GlassPoint’s solar steam generators to be installed at the site will use large mirrors to concentrate sunlight and boil oilfield water into steam.

Under a long-term off-take agreement, Occidental will purchase the solar steam to facilitate the production of heavy oil. The company has implemented large steam flood projects for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) at the Mukhaizna field.

Omani Minister of Oil and Gas Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi said: “As we continue to diversify Oman’s economy and develop the renewable energy sector, we are also identifying ways to save our natural gas resources.

“Oman’s vast heavy oilfields present one of the largest opportunities to deploy solar energy and conserve gas, which can instead be used to fuel industries and generate power.

“We’re pleased to see this progress between Occidental of Oman and GlassPoint, which can deliver substantial economic and environmental benefits to the Sultanate.”

GlassPoint is the lead developer of the solar thermal energy plant, which could save more than 800,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year.

With preliminary studies completed for the proposed plant, engineering work has now started to define the project scope and field integration plans.

Occidental said that the technical learning and commercialization success resulting from the proposed project will help it in promoting similar projects in other areas to reduce its global carbon footprint.

Occidental of Oman president and general manager Steve Kelly said: “We are excited about working with GlassPoint to enhance our environmental stewardship in Oman and strengthen Occidental’s position in the lower-carbon economy.

“This is a strategic opportunity for us to tap into solar as a sustainable source of energy in order to minimize the carbon footprint of our operations.”

In November 2017, Aera Energy and GlassPoint Solar agreed to jointly develop a 850MW solar thermal facility at the Belridge oilfield located west of Bakersfield in California, US.

The project was estimated to produce 12 million barrels of solar steam annually.