Solar power plant will produce oil

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Last reviewed: 16.05.2018

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08 July 2016, 09:00

In the Arab state of Oman, the construction of a solar power plant (SES) has begun, which will not be used in the usual way. The Oman solar power plant will not generate electricity, but will help produce steam for oil production.

The power plant was developed specifically for one of the largest oil companies of Oman and the project was named Miraah. According to the developers, the capacity of the power plant will be equal to 1 GW and it will become an effective substitute for the method, in which the extraction of oil requires natural gas to generate steam, which is common today.

According to the project, curved mirrors will be located in the power station on the boiler pipe with water. In standard SES heat is used to produce steam, rotating a turbine to generate electricity. SES Mirraah and the steam it generates will help to facilitate the production of oil in adjacent oil fields and make it less expensive.  

The reserves of light oil (with a low specific density) in Oman end and the companies are in search of new inexpensive and effective methods. Now, secondary oil recovery methods are considered, improved, more complex, but also more expensive, which means facilitating the extraction of heavy oil, which can not be deflated by the usual method. The secondary method involves changing the density of the oil and maintaining the energy of the formation, thereby facilitating the process of pumping out a heavier heavy oil.

Oil in the deeper layers has a more viscous structure and the steam flooding of the oil reservoir, today, is the main method of extraction of natural fossil. Under the influence of high temperatures, oil becomes more liquid and the process of pumping it to the surface does not require additional effort. But one of the drawbacks of this method is the excessive consumption of natural gas needed to produce the right amount of steam - to produce 5 barrels of oil it is necessary to expend energy, the cost of which equals 1 barrel of oil.

SES Miraah will replace methods that are harmful to the environment and use huge reserves of natural gas. According to preliminary calculations, the power station will save a lot of gas, which would be sufficient to meet the needs of more than 200 thousand people living in Oman. The solar power plant will be able to produce about 6,000 tons of steam every day, thus it will take the place of the world's largest solar plant for oil recovery in a secondary way. After the power plant is running, natural gas consumption will decrease significantly, but exact figures are not announced.

In addition, the designers of the power plant have provided self-cleaning modules, which will help keep the mirrors clean. The exact date of completion of the project is not known at present, but by the end of next year the first batch of steam is expected. The cost of the Miraah power plant will be 600 million dollars and it will take more than 3 km 2.

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