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PDO to build $600m solar plant in Oman

by Paromita Dey on Jul 9, 2015

The plant will provide a sustainable solution for EOR steam.
The plant will provide a sustainable solution for EOR steam.

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Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and GlassPoint Solar announced plans to build one of the world’s largest solar plants at a cost of $600m (OMR231m).

The contract was signed between Raoul Restucci, Managing Director of PDO and Rod MacGregor, president and CEO of GlassPoint Solar in the presence of Dr Mohammed bin Hamad al-Rumhi, Minister of Oil and Gas, chairman of the PDO's board of directors.

Dr al-Rumhi pointed out that the project faces many major challenges especially in terms of getting the required finance. The Sultanate, represented by the State Reserve Fund, owns 30% of the total value of the project.

“The power that will be generated from the project makes its cost highly feasible,” said Dr al-Rumhi.

He added: “The project will achieve three main aims namely increasing the quantities of heavy oil, contributing to filling the significant shortage of gas supplies and establishing a centre for this technology in the Sultanate.”

Mir'aah, a 1,021MW solar thermal facility in South Sultanate, will harness the sun’s rays to produce 6,000 tonnes of steam. The steam will be used in thermal EOR to extract heavy and viscous oil at the Amal oilfield.

The plant will provide a sustainable solution for EOR steam, which is currently produced by burning natural gas. Once complete, Mir'aah will save 5.6 trillion British Thermal Units (BTUs) of natural gas each year, the amount of gas that could be used to provide residential electricity to 209,000 people in the Sultanate.

Raoul Restucci said: “PDO awarded GlassPoint the contract based on the strength of our successful solar steam pilot, which has exceeded expectations for reliable operations and steam delivery for the past two years. GlassPoint’s proven track record propelled us toward this historic project that will be over 100 times larger."

The full-scale project will comprise 36 glasshouse modules, built and commissioned in succession in groups of four. The total project area, including all supporting infrastructure, will span three-square km. The actual solar field will span less than 2km2.

The project will break ground this year with steam generation from the first glasshouse module in 2017. Once complete, Mir'aah is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 300,000 tonnes annually.