This paper reports on the start-up of Phase 1 of a Solar Steam Generation facility (SSG) and its export to the existing steam headers of the Amal oil field, located in the south of Oman. Significant considerations within the SSG are reviewed and the impacts on the client's systems identified and discussed.
Operational performance indicators on SSG and Client facilities are studied, primarily based on process operating data and equipment stability records, to ensure that the supply of variable steam from solar generation does not create any detrimental effects on the existing facilities. Of particular interest is to assess the success of a variable rate steam injection mode and the impact this has on Client facilities: system pressures, conventional steam generator operation, and wellhead steam injection rates.
Previous simulation work has demonstrated that this mode of operation is essentially equivalent to fixed steaming rates provided the same daily equivalent of steam is injected in both cases. However, this has never been demonstrated in the field for extended periods.
Operational data showed that, as anticipated, the Client's systems were able to accomodate the cyclic swings in header pressure and the induced variable flows through their fixed, manual chokes. Data showed that the Client's conventional steam generators (HRSGs) continued to operate as normal without noted issue.
The changing pressure in the Client's steam header propagated back to the solar steam generation facility which was able to easily manage its operations automatically, causing no disruptions to its operations. No safety-related incidents arose, and all processes were well-managed on-site.
This study demonstrates for the first time the performance of large-scale solar steam generation facilities operating alongside conventional steam generation and distribution systems with the two disparate systems seamlessly integrated. It also demonstrates that variable rate steaming has practical application within this field. This highly dynamic process has been sympathetically and successfully added to an existing large, steady-state operation without introducing significant issues to either system.