Oman-based GlassPoint Solar 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, the company said in a statement.
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, it added.
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.”
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.
GlassPoint said its 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.
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.
GlassPoint established its regional headquarters in Oman in early 2012. The company’s shareholders include Royal Dutch Shell and State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), the largest sovereign wealth fund in Oman.
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