Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) plans to add wind energy to its portfolio of renewables-based investments in the Sultanate. The majority-government owned company’s Managing Director, Raoul Restucci, said the move is part of PDO’s strategy to evolve into a “fully-fledged energy development” entity in the Sultanate.
Speaking at the formal inauguration of the landmark Miraah solar plant in Amal in the south of PDO’s Block 6 concession on Monday, Restucci said the company was looking to go beyond its primary focus on oil and gas exploration and production into the “renewables space and water management” as part of this transition. PDO is currently exploring the potential for 10-20 MW capacity wind turbines in the south of Oman, he noted.
The first four blocks of the giant 36-block Miraah solar project, which when fully completed by 2019 will cover a square kilometre of the desert landscape in Amal, were formally inaugurated at a ceremony presided over by Salim bin Nasser al Aufi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Oil & Gas.
Based on technology provided by US-based GlassPoint Solar, Miraah’s solar mirrors concentrate sunlight to convert oilfield water into steam, which is then pumped into Amal’s reservoir to extract heavy oil. The use of sunlight for energy helps save massive amounts of natural gas as fuel for steam generation.
“We are very excited about the statement that Miraah is making as an enabler of renewable energy development,” Restucci said. “Miraah is a very tangible example of this commitment and we are combining this with other initiatives such as solar power generation for PDO’s headquarters which will also feed into the national grid at peak times, establishing a 100 MW solar PV farm in our concession area at Amin and measures to significantly reduce gas flaring as well as exploring new forms of renewable energy such as wind power.”
In other renewables-based initiatives being pursued by the company, PDO has installed solar systems for lighting and water heating at Ras al Hamra in Muscat, while also equipping more than 1,000 kms of streets with solar lights.
“Further evidence of our commitment in this vital area can be seen in our recently launched high-profile Estidama campaign focused on energy and the environment. This umbrella campaign includes industrial sized examples such as Miraah, the deployment of micro-turbines, innovative energy saving initiatives at our installations through to supporting electric car charging stations and educating people how they can energy in their homes,” he added.