California headquartered GlassPoint Solar has signed an agreement with Occidental of Oman that could lead to the development of a solar thermal energy plant of more than two gigawatts.
In a statement Tuesday, GlassPoint said that the prospective plant would be located at the Mukhaizna oilfield in the Sultanate of Oman.
GlassPoint develops solar steam generators that utilize big mirrors to concentrate sunlight and boil oilfield water into steam.
As lead developer of the facility, GlassPoint said it would deploy its technology at the site to produce as many as 100,000 barrels of solar steam every day.
Occidental, an independent oil producer in Oman, would then buy the solar steam and use it to "facilitate production of heavy oil." The "highly viscous" nature of heavy oil makes it difficult to both produce and refine, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory.
The solar steam would be used as an alternative to steam produced from natural gas. According to GlassPoint, the project could help to save over 800,000 tons of carbon dioxide emission annually.
"As we continue to diversify Oman's economy and develop the renewable energy sector, we are also identifying ways to save our natural gas resources," Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhi, the Omani minister of oil and gas, said in a statement Tuesday.
"Oman's vast heavy oilfields present one of the largest opportunities to deploy solar energy and conserve gas, which can instead be used to fuel industries and generate power," Al Rumhi added.