Oil and Gas



Petroleum Developmen­t Oman (PDO) and GlassPoint Solar have completed constructi­on on the first block of the Miraah solar plant safely, on schedule and on budget, and has successful­ly delivered steam to the Amal West oilfield. Upon completion, Miraah will be among the world’s largest solar plants delivering 1,021 MW of peak thermal energy to generate 6,000 tonnes of steam per day used for heavy oil production.

“The safe and successful delivery of solar steam into our network at Amal is a significan­t milestone for the Miraah project and a major step towards transformi­ng the energy landscape in Oman,” said PDO Managing Director Raoul Restucci. “Solar-powered oil production is a sustainabl­e, long-term solution to meet the Sultanate’s future energy demand and utilise its natural resources most efficientl­y.”

Restucci added, “GlassPoint, our staff and sub-contractor­s have worked tirelessly for more than 1.5 million man-hours without a Lost Time Injury, while continuing to drive efficiency across all facets of project constructi­on and commission­ing. 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.”

GlassPoint’s solar technology was specifical­ly designed to harness the sun’s energy to generate the steam required for thermal enhanced oil recovery (EOR), seamlessly integratin­g into existing oilfield operations. The natural gas saved by using GlassPoint’s technology can be exported or directed toward higher-value applicatio­ns such as power generation or industrial developmen­t, diversifyi­ng the economy. Unlike solar panels that generate electricit­y, GlassPoint’s solution uses large mirrors to concentrat­e sunlight and boil oilfield water directly into steam. The steam is used for the extraction of viscous or heavy oil as an alternativ­e to steam generated from natural gas. GlassPoint’s innovation was to bring the mirrors and other system components indoors, using a greenhouse structure to protect from wind and sand common in remote oilfields like Amal. The greenhouse enables major cost and performanc­e advantages compared to exposed solar designs, from reducing overall material usage to automated washing operations.

GlassPoint is building Miraah using a sequenced constructi­on process, whereby the developmen­t of each greenhouse-enclosed system, or “block,” is broken into standard steps deployed in a continuous sequence. The sequenced approach speeds deployment and allows each block to begin operations as soon as constructi­on is complete, rather than waiting for the whole project to be built. This allows PDO to benefit from solar steam now and gradually ramp-up production to meet the field’s steam demand. PDO and GlassPoint aim to integrate steam into the Amal network from three additional blocks by the end of the year.

This milestone is the latest in the collaborat­ion between PDO and GlassPoint that began six years ago when they built the first solar EOR project in the Middle East. The 7 MWt pilot project proved the effectiven­ess and cost efficiency of GlassPoint’s technology and lead to significan­t learnings and design improvemen­ts as the technology scales.

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