Oil and Gas - - CONTENT -

Pe­tro­leum Devel­op­ment Oman (PDO) has said that its world-first so­lar photo voltaic In­de­pen­dent Power Pro­ducer (IPP) project marked a step change for re­new­able en­ergy in the Sul­tanate.

PDO will buy elec­tric­ity for its In­te­rior op­er­a­tions from the in­stal­la­tion at Amin in south­ern Oman at one of the low­est tar­iffs in the world. The com­pany said the rate showed the “huge po­ten­tial” for the coun­try to pro­duce so­lar en­ergy at com­mer­cially at­trac­tive prices.

PDO has awarded the con­tract to build and op­er­ate the plant to the Marubeni Con­sor­tium, con­sist­ing of Ja­panese com­pany the Marubeni Cor­po­ra­tion, the Oman Gas Com­pany S.A.O.C, Bah­wan Re­new­able En­ergy Com­pany LLC and Mod­ern Chan­nels Ser­vices LLC.

The desert fa­cil­ity will be the first of its type in Oman and will also be the world’s first util­ity-scale so­lar project to have an oil and gas com­pany as the sole whole­sale buyer of elec­tric­ity.

Con­struc­tion will start in Jan­uary 2019 and the site will span 4 km2, the size of 480 foot­ball pitches. The in­stal­la­tion will con­sist of more than 335,000 so­lar PV pan­els, pro­duc­ing enough en­ergy to power 15,000 homes.

The project will be struc­tured as an IPP un­der the terms of the power pur­chase agree­ment for a pe­riod of 23 years from the sched­uled com­mer­cial op­er­a­tion date, which is planned for May 2020. The con­sor­tium will build, own and op­er­ate the fa­cil­ity and then trans­fer it back to PDO.

The plant is ex­pected to in­tro­duce an equiv­a­lent fuel sav­ing of 70.5 mil­lion m3 of gas an­nu­ally, re­sult­ing in a to­tal sav­ing of $17 mil­lion a year through the use of so­lar power as an al­ter­na­tive to nat­u­ral gas. It will also re­duce over­all car­bon diox­ide (CO2) emis­sions by around 137,121 tons an­nu­ally, the equiv­a­lent of tak­ing 23,000 large cars off the road.

Speak­ing at the for­mal con­tract award cer­e­mony at Mina Al Fa­hal, PDO

Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Raoul Res­tucci said, “We are de­lighted to sign this con­tract which marks a sig­nif­i­cant step in our tran­si­tion to a fully fledged en­ergy com­pany with a greater em­pha­sis on re­new­ables.

“The ten­der for the IPP was re­leased in Fe­bru­ary this year and we re­ceived com­pet­i­tive bids from highly re­puted de­vel­op­ers in the re­new­able en­ergy in­dus­try, tes­ta­ment to the cred­i­bil­ity of PDO’s com­mit­ment to the re­new­able en­ergy sec­tor and the huge po­ten­tial of this sus­tain­able use of nat­u­ral re­sources for power gen­er­a­tion in Oman.

“The pro­posed tar­iff is one of the low­est in the his­tory of so­lar IPPs world­wide so far and un­der­lines the sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­nity for Oman to pro­duce low­cost en­ergy us­ing so­lar. “The elec­tri­cal power pro­duced will feed into our trans­mis­sion sys­tem and con­trib­ute to off-set­ting the use of nat­u­ral gas for power gen­er­a­tion and re­duce green­house gas emis­sions.”

The project in­cludes the de­sign, pro­cure­ment, con­struc­tion, com­mis­sion­ing, fi­nanc­ing and op­er­a­tion and main­te­nance of the so­lar photo voltaic plant with a 100 megawatt (MW) ca­pac­ity and as­so­ci­ated in­fra­struc­ture.

Marubeni is one of Ja­pan’s lead­ing trad­ing and in­vest­ment houses and op­er­ates more than 50 power pro­jects with a to­tal gen­er­a­tion ca­pac­ity of more than 41 gi­gawatts (GW) world­wide, with a third of this in the Mid­dle East re­gion.

Toshi­hiro Maruo, Se­nior Of­fi­cer of the Marubeni Cor­po­ra­tion’s Power Busi­ness Divi­sion, said: “We are very ex­cited to take a lead de­vel­oper role in this amaz­ing project. We have re­cently an­nounced a new cor­po­rate strat­egy con­firm­ing our in­ten­tion to dou­ble our cur­rent ca­pac­ity of re­new­able en­ergy so that it will make up at least 20% of our port­fo­lio within the next five years. The Amin IPP project is our first suc­cess since the an­nounce­ment of our new strat­egy and we are de­lighted to re­ceive the award of this pres­ti­gious project.

“We be­lieve that, with the ex­pe­ri­ence of our Omani part­ners and Marubeni’s ex­per­tise of power pro­jects around the world, we will make the project a great suc­cess and that it will sup­port the fur­ther growth of PDO as our val­ued cus­tomer.”

PDO has al­ready ven­tured into so­lar en­ergy with the gi­ant Mi­raah so­lar plant in Amal which it is de­vel­op­ing with part­ners GlassPoint So­lar to pro­duce steam for ther­mal en­hanced oil re­cov­ery

PDO is also in­stalling thou­sands of so­lar pan­els in car parks at its Mina Al Fa­hal head­quar­ters to power key of­fices and feed into the na­tional grid dur­ing non­work­ing hours.

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