According to a new report from Ernst & Young (EY), deploying solar enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in Oman to reduce natural gas used for oil production will have a significant and lasting impact on the country’s economic growth. The report, sponsored by GlassPoint Solar and titled Solar Enhanced Oil Recovery: An In-Country Value Assessment for Oman, found that full-scale deployment of solar EOR by the end of 2023 could save 531,000 thousand cubic feet (mcf) of gas per day and generate up to 212,000 jobs throughout the Sultanate.
“EOR is of strategic importance to Oman’s future oil production, but its use of natural gas creates a gas supply conflict with other national priorities,” said Mark Gregory, EY chief economist. “Using solar energy for steam production will free valuable gas resources needed to power new industries and diversify the economy. Furthermore, if Oman were to localize the supply chain for solar steam generators, solar EOR could contribute more than $12 billion to Omani GDP over the next decade.”
Gas not burned for EOR will fuel industrial expansion
Natural gas used for oil production accounts for almost a quarter of Oman’s total gas consumption, and that number is growing rapidly.1 EY concluded that the full-scale deployment of solar EOR in Oman, in which solar produces 80 percent of the steam needed for EOR, would redirect up to 531,000 mcf of gas per day by the end of 2023.
The gas not burned for EOR can be used for higher-value applications, such as LNG export and power generation. Additionally, gas can be redirected to the Omani private sector, where dozens of industrial projects have been cancelled or stalled in the past decade due to gas shortages.
“Greater access to natural gas is critical to achieving economic diversification,” said Ahmed Amor Al Esry, partner and oil and gas sector leader at EY Muscat. “Gas used for oil production means less gas to power Oman’s growing economy. Solar EOR can help maximize our existing gas resources, which could have a transformational impact on the future of the Sultanate.”
Establishing a world-class solar power industry in Oman
Oman is well-positioned to grow into a hub for solar EOR technologies and supporting industries. As a result, the nation’s workforce will develop greater expertise across solar technology innovation, project deployment and manufacturing. Experience with solar EOR development will transfer to other energy-related sectors, fostering broader economic growth.
As the pioneer of solar EOR, Oman can seize regional and global export opportunities which can create additional jobs by localizing the solar supply chain and ancillary industries. Coupled with the impact of gas savings, full-scale solar EOR deployment across the region could create up to 212,000 permanent jobs in Oman, as well as an additional 90,000 jobs to support project construction.
“GlassPoint has an opportunity to establish a manufacturing facility and supply chain within the Sultanate to meet growing demand for solar EOR throughout the region,” said Rod MacGregor, GlassPoint CEO. “This investment would create a world-class solar industry alongside Oman’s world-class oil and gas industry.”
“There are also immediate opportunities for solar EOR in Oman’s neighboring countries which are also challenged by gas scarcity and oilfield maturity, but enjoy abundant sunshine,” added MacGregor. “Solar EOR projects can enable substantial economic growth wherever they’re deployed.”
MacGregor will present the results of the EY report at a Tech Talk at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) on January 20 at 14:00 in the main exhibition hall. MacGregor will also participate in a Shell Knowledge Series panel discussion with Gulf Intelligence at WFES. The panel will take place at the Shell booth #A110 on January 22 at 11:30.
About GlassPoint Solar
GlassPoint is the leading provider of solar steam generators to the oil and gas industry for applications such as Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR). Oil operators worldwide deploy EOR to loosen heavy oil and boost well productivity by up to 300 percent. By replacing gas-fired steam generation with solar, GlassPoint can reduce EOR gas consumption by up to 80 percent. The gas saved can be redirected to higher value uses such as LNG export, industrial development and power generation. GlassPoint’s projects operate in global markets ranging from the Middle East to California. For more information, visit GlassPoint.com.
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1 Sultanate of Oman’s National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI)