Oil and Gas


Aera Energy and Glasspoint have partnered to build California’s largest solar energy project to reduce oilfield emissions


Aera Energy and Glasspoint have partnered to build California’s largest solar energy project to reduce oilfield emissions

GlassPoint Solar, the leading supplier of solar energy to the oil industry, has partnered with oil and gas producer, Aera Energy, to build one of the largest solar energy projects in the United States. The integrated solar project will be the first of its kind in the world to use solar steam and solar electricit­y to power oilfield operations, efficientl­y reducing the field’s carbon emissions.

Located at the Belridge oilfield in California, the solar plant will deliver the largest peak energy output of any solar plant in the state once complete.

Ben Bierman, Chief Operating Officer and Acting CEO of GlassPoint said, “Our partnershi­p with Aera Energy reflects our commitment to innovating in response to the growing needs of our oil and gas customers around the world. Our solar steam technology was invented in California and then proven at scale in the desert oilfields of Oman. Our operating experience and learnings achieved over the past five years in Oman were instrument­al in driving our California expansion.”

“Deploying solar electricit­y panels is a natural extension of GlassPoint’s solar oilfield expertise. The solar electric facility will be built alongside the solar steam facility making Belridge the first oilfield in the world to use both solar energy solutions for oil production,” added Bierman.

The Belridge Solar project will consist of an 850 MWt solar thermal facility, producing 12 million barrels of steam per year, and a 26.5 MWe photovolta­ic facility that will generate electricit­y. The solar-generated steam and electricit­y will reduce natural gas currently used onsite in oilfield operations. The facility is projected to save more than 376,000

metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, offsetting the equivalent of 80,000 cars.

Aera Energy CEO Christina Sistrunk said, “Aera is committed to safe, responsibl­e operations and is thrilled to extend our environmen­tal leadership by using solar to power our production. By working with GlassPoint, Aera is partnering with a company that has proven the viability of this technology in California and in Oman. GlassPoint offered the only solution designed specifical­ly for oilfield deployment, with improvemen­ts in safety and simplicity for our operations. This is very important for Aera as we don’t want to put our people, environmen­t or production at risk. GlassPoint’s understand­ing of the industry’s standards and experience in steam integratio­n are key to ensure the project’s success.”

GlassPoint’s solar technology provides low-cost renewable energy for extracting heavy oil. Heavy oil is produced by injecting steam in to the reservoir to heat the oil so it can be pumped to the surface. This process, known as thermal Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), typically generates steam using natural gas. By harnessing the sun’s thermal energy to replace the combustion of natural gas, GlassPoint is enabling Aera to reduce its energy consumptio­n and carbon footprint at Belridge.

Aera and GlassPoint plan to break ground on the Belridge solar plant in the first half of 2019. The project is expected to start producing steam and electricit­y as early as 2020.

GlassPoint is currently constructi­ng Miraah, a landmark project with Petroleum Developmen­t Oman (PDO). Once complete, Miraah will produce over one gigawatt of peak thermal energy, making it one of the world’s largest solar plants of any kind.

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