The first phase of the Miraah solar plant in Oman has been completed, and is now delivering steam to the Amal West oilfield.
Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and GlassPoint Solar, are constructing the project.
The plant's solar technology was designed by GlassPoint to harness solar energy for steam generation.
A sequenced construction plan – which entails the development of each steam-generation system as independent 'blocks' – has been deployed for the project to support immediate operational commencement.
This approach "allows PDO to benefit from solar steam now and gradually ramp-up production to meet the field’s steam demand", GlassPoint said in a statement.
PDO and GlassPoint aim to integrate steam into the Amal network from three additional blocks by the end of the year.
The project's team has completed more than 1.5 million man-hours without a lost-time injury (LTI).
Upon full completion, Miraah will deliver 1,021 mega-watts (MW) of peak thermal energy to generate 6,000 tonnes of steam per day, to be used for heavy oil production.
A thermal enhanced oil recovery (EOR) process will be supported by the steam generated from the plant.
GlassPoint is known to use large mirrors to concentrate sunlight and boil oilfield water directly into steam.
The company uses the system's mirrors and other components indoors, using a greenhouse structure to protect from wind and sand common in remote oilfields like Amal.
The greenhouse allows cost and performance advantages compared to exposed solar designs, by reducing overall material usage to automated washing operations.
Commenting on the latest development, Raoul Restucci, the managing director of PDO, said: "The safe and successful delivery of solar steam into our network at Amal is a significant milestone for the Miraah project and a major step towards transforming the energy landscape in Oman.
"The progress we have made together has been nothing short of remarkable, and I would like to congratulate the Miraah team for the safe, on time, and on budget commissioning of the first block."
Meanwhile, Ben Bierman, the chief operating officer and acting chief executive officer of GlassPoint, said: "We are proud to partner with PDO to build a world-class solar industry out of Oman’s oil and gas industry roots.
"This project is helping put Oman on the global solar energy map, creating new jobs and developing expertise in solar technology innovation, project deployment, and manufacturing."