MUSCAT, Oman, July 8 (UPI) -- The sultanate of Oman aims to employ solar technology as a long-term method to extract its heavier grade of crude oil, a managing director said.
"The use of solar for oil recovery is a long-term solution," Raoul Restucci, managing director of Petroleum Development Oman, said in an interview published Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal.
The energy company along with its partners at Royal Dutch Shell and French energy company Total announced plans to install a 1,021 megawatt solar facility at the country's Amal West oil field for enhanced oil recovery.
Primary recovery from oil deposits relates to natural pressure in the reservoir. Secondary recovery involves water or gas injection into the well to increase production. Enhanced oil recovery techniques include further stimulation from steam, gas or chemical injections into the well.
Consultant group Wood Mackenzie finds that, for North American shale basins, enhanced oil recovery could result in a 100 percent increase in recovery rates and add between 1.5 million and 3 million barrels per day in oil production by 2030.
Oman is the largest regional oil and gas producer that's not a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. A 2013 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration finds Oman produced 970,000 barrels of oil per day in 2000 and 710,000 bpd in 2007. Five years later, its production reached 919,000 bpd thanks in part to enhanced oil recovery techniques.
According to the Journal, Oman expects solar-driven enhanced oil recovery will be contributing to about 30 percent of its total production by 2023.