PDO to use solar to displace gas in thermal EOR work

Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) plans to use a solar plant to displace natural gas in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) efforts in Amal oil field.

The 1,021-Mw Miraah plant in southern Oman will generate an average of 6,000 tons/day of steam. PDO said Miraah will save 5.6 trillion btu/year of gas used to create steam for thermal EOR.

Groundbreaking will occur later this year and steam generation from the first glasshouse module is expected in 2017.

The project with GlassPoint Solar will have 36 glasshouse modules. Total project area, including support infrastructure, will be 3 sq km.

The plant’s “enclosed trough technology” will include large curved mirrors to focus sunlight on a boiler tube containing water. The concentrated energy will boil the water to produce steam that will be fed to the oil field’s existing steam distribution network.

PDO said for every five barrels of heavy oil, the energy equivalent to one barrel is consumed in the production process.

PDO has been working with GlassPoint since 2010 on a pilot at Amal to test the commercial viability of solar steam. The 7-Mw pilot produced 50 tons/day of steam and will continue to operate at Amal.

The government of Oman owns 60% of PDO. Other partners are Shell 34%, Total 4%, and Partex 2%.

PDO said it accounts for about 70% of Oman’s crude production and nearly all of its natural gas supply (OGJ Online, Apr. 30, 2015).

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