Marwan Chaar, vice president, project development, GlassPoint Solar, speaks to ArabianOilandGas.com on the latest developments in the oil and gas market in the Sultanate of Oman.
ArabianOilandGas.com: Production in Oman is increasing despite oil prices remaining depressed, there are also several large projects coming online. How has the oil and gas market played out for companies such as yourself in 2017 in Oman?
Marwan Chaar: The current economic situation has given us the opportunity to further showcase how the growing convergence between renewable and conventional energy offers massive benefits to oil producers. With production of viscous oil gaining ground in the Middle East, investments in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) techniques that utilise natural gas are proving to be costly. GlassPoint’s unique and proven solution, on the other hand, utilises the cheap and abundant power of the sun to produce the steam required for EOR, delivering cost reductions, natural gas savings, and transforming the heavy oil value chain in the process.
To date, our solution has been applied and tested on oilfields in the United States and in the Sultanate, where it has been deployed at scale in partnership with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). Together, we are building Miraah, one of the world’s largest solar plants of any kind. It is being built to deliver one gigawatt of peak thermal energy and generate 6,000 tons of steam per day. Construction is progressing on schedule and on-budget, with more than 1.5 million safe man hours completed.
ArabianOilandGas.com: What have been the most significant projects/developments in the Oman oil and gas sector in 2017?
Marwan Chaar: Over the past year, Oman achieved a number of significant milestones in the oil and gas sector that will help spur economic diversification and reduce the Sultanate’s reliance on natural gas imports. Chief among those achievements was the completion of the Khazzan natural gas field’s first phase of development, which was delivered ahead of time and under budget. The project is expected to produce one billion cubic feet of gas a day and serve as an engine for job creation, economic growth, as well as a driver for industrialisation. Additionally, the completion of Miraah’s first block of greenhouse structures and the subsequent delivery of steam to the Amal oilfield is another significant development. Construction on the remaining 35 greenhouse blocks remains on schedule and we are on track to complete three additional blocks by the end of the year.
ArabianOilandGas.com: What is the outlook for Oman’s oil and gas sector for 2018 in your opinion?
Marwan Chaar: I anticipate that Oman's oil and gas sector will continue to utilise the power of innovation to fuel economic diversification. This will be led by our partner PDO’s strong and robust project portfolio, which include plans to become an energy exporter, a variety of In-Country Value (ICV) programmes, and agreements that will strengthen Oman’s oil infrastructure. A number of developments will drive growth, including an increase in knowledge-sharing among principal producers and renewable energy providers. This will allow companies to integrate unique processes, technologies and human capital into an innovative system that produces cleaner, more beneficial results for the Sultanate.