MUSCAT, Oman – June 2, 2014 – The United States Ambassador to Oman, Greta C. Holtz, and a delegation from the U.S. Embassy in Muscat yesterday visited the solar enhanced oil recovery (EOR) pilot at the Amal oilfield operated by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) in southern Oman. The delegation was hosted by U.S.-based GlassPoint Solar, PDO’s solar EOR partner, underscoring the commercial and technological collaboration between the United States and Oman.
Ambassador Holtz commented, “GlassPoint has developed an innovative solution that addresses key questions facing Oman. By generating steam with solar energy, GlassPoint’s technology enables oil companies to maintain production while driving economic growth across Oman. This technological partnership is a prime example of how working across borders can advance a range of economic benefits.”
GlassPoint has been operating in Oman since early 2012. The 7MW solar steam generation pilot was completed safely, on time and on budget in December 2012. It recently completed its first year of operations, exceeding all performance targets. The pilot’s success has proven solar is a viable source of steam for EOR.
GlassPoint’s enclosed trough technology harnesses the power of the sun to power thermal EOR operations. EOR requires steam, typically produced by burning large volumes of natural gas—a scarce and valuable commodity in many oil-producing countries, including Oman. By deploying GlassPoint’s innovative solar steam generators, oilfield operators can reduce EOR gas consumption by up to 80 percent.
“Today, nearly a quarter of Oman’s gas is used for oil production, and that percentage continues to increase each year,” said Rod MacGregor, CEO of GlassPoint. “By adopting solar steam generation, oil companies can release these valuable natural gas supplies for use in power generation, desalination or industrial development, diversifying Oman’s growing economy.”
GlassPoint Solar Muscat, LCC, the subsidiary of GlassPoint operating in Oman, was set up under the United States – Oman Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and GlassPoint is pursuing an in-country value strategy to bring even more training, experience and jobs to individuals and communities in Oman. GlassPoint’s growth in Oman demonstrates the value of an FTA in boosting partnerships in science and technology, innovation and business solutions between the two countries.
A report published by Ernst & Young in January 2014 found that full-scale deployment of solar EOR in Oman, in which solar steam accounted for 80 percent of Oman’s thermal EOR needs, could save up to half a billion cubic feet of gas per day, contribute more than $12B in Omani Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create thousands of permanent jobs by 2023. This forecast includes jobs directly generated from local manufacturing, induced and indirect jobs generated throughout the supply chain and as a result of the increased economic activity, as well as jobs created from redirecting valuable natural gas away from oil production to industrial development.
Oman already is the region’s leader in deploying advanced EOR techniques and has large-scale expansion plans for solar steam under development. PDO’s commitment to solar EOR reflects the Government of Oman’s goal of creating significant in-country value through technology deployment and supporting creative ways to grow and diversify Oman’s economy.
GlassPoint’s success demonstrates how collaboration between American and Omani firms can benefit Omani communities and the local economy. Embassy officials congratulated GlassPoint on its achievements in Oman, and look forward to building further on FTA successes like GlassPoint.