GlassPoint Solar Sees Interest from Middle East Oil Firms

GlassPoint Solar Inc.’s completion of the first Middle Eastern solar plant that makes steam to extract crude from aging oilfields, on time and under budget, will help encourage orders in the region for the producer’s technology.

The California-based company said today it commissioned the 7-megawatt enhanced oil-recovery plant, producing 50 metric tons of steam a day to be injected into the Amal oilfield in Southern Oman. The plant is a venture with Petroleum Development Oman.

“We spoke to every national and international oil company in the region on developing similar plants,” Chief Executive Officer Rod Macgregor said. “Everyone was waiting to see the results of Oman’s pilot plant and with this completed we have better chances to apply this technology in other countries.”

While natural gas is traditionally used to heat steam, countries are considering solar as an alternative, Macgregor said. Oman uses 22 percent of its total natural gas output to generate steam and pump more oil from the ground, he said.

Macgregor said the new plant is producing 10 percent more steam than agreed. The company is also in talks with PDO to develop more projects on a larger scale, he said.

GlassPoint said in December it gained funding to expand in places such as the Middle East from a group including Royal Dutch Shell Plc. (RDSA) Kuwait and Bahrain, where Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY) are trying to extract heavy crude from deposits, are targets for Glasspoint, Macgregor said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Wael Mahdi in Manama at wmahdi@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net

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