This paper presents performance, results and learnings from the first solar enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project in the MENA region.
The following areas are covered in the paper: the motivation for solar EOR in Oman, description of the enclosed trough design employed in the Amal field, operations and performance data in the Oman desert environment, integration with oilfield operations and an update on results at the time of publication.
According to industry forecasts, the GCC region faces a significant shortfall of gas supply. In Oman today, over 22% of gas consumed is used for oil production including power generation, gas injection and steam generation for EOR.
The pilot project deployed in Amal West field was of a new enclosed trough design in which solar radiation is concentrated using parabolic trough mirrors that are enclosed to protect them from dust and wind loading. The "once-through" design allows the use of standard OTSG feed-water to produce 80% quality steam at 100 bar, matching typical EOR specifications.
The key objective for the pilot was to prove that the system is able to be deployed practically and economically at scale in the region. To do this several key elements had to be field proven. First, it was important to prove that the steam output could be modeled and predicted with certainty. The paper will discuss performance verses model and the enhancements implemented during the year to improve steam production and quality. Second, the oilfields of Oman lie in a region with about fifteen times higher dust or "soiling rate" than locations where concentrating solar power (CSP) is typically deployed. The performance of the system in extreme weather was tested. In conclusion, the data will point towards the feasibility of full field deployment of solar EOR in the region and explore some of the challenges that lie ahead in its adoption.