By: Joshua S Hill
Aera Energy, one of California’s largest oil and gas producers, will partner with GlassPoint Solar to build the State’s largest solar energy project at the Belridge oilfield west of Bakersfield.
Announced on Wednesday, Aera Energy — a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil — will partner with GlassPoint Solar, the industry-leading supplier of solar energy for the global oil and gas industry, to build California’s largest solar energy project at the Belridge oilfield, operated by Aera Energy, located west of Bakersfield. The integrated solar farm will be a first of its kind project in the world to use solar steam as well as solar electricity to power oilfield operations while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions.
Belridge Solar will be comprised of an 850 MW (megawatt) solar thermal facility which will produce 12 million barrels of steam per year, in conjunction with a 26.5 MW solar PV facility that will generate electricity. The two generation sources will serve to reduce natural gas usage at the site and will save more than 376,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, while also creating hundreds of direct and indirect jobs in California throughout the oil and gas supply chain and their supporting industries.
“Aera is committed to safe, responsible operations and is thrilled to extend our environmental leadership by using solar to power our production,” said Aera Energy President and CEO Christina Sistrunk.
“Adding solar energy at Belridge allows us to continue to lead the way in the safest, most environmentally responsible energy extraction there is. The people of California are counting on us to help them get to school and work each day, allow their businesses to grow and thrive and help get California-grown food on their dinner tables. We are proud to be an active part of California’s low carbon future and lead the industry by adopting bold solutions to deliver valuable energy, more efficiently while protecting the environment.”
“GlassPoint is thrilled to partner with Aera to scale our solar oilfield technology in California and deliver meaningful carbon reductions,” added Sanjeev Kumar, GlassPoint SVP, Americas.
“By harnessing the power of the sun to produce oil, oil operators can efficiently reduce emissions using advanced technology, creating long-term benefits for the local economy and environment. Our partnership with Aera demonstrates the growing energy convergence where renewables and traditional energy leaders are working together to address some of the biggest challenges of our time.”
We last heard from GlassPoint at the beginning of the month when the company announced that it had completed the first block of one of the world’s largest solar plants — the 1,021 MW Miraah solar plant located on the Amal West oilfield in Oman.
The project will be made up of 36 separate “blocks” — separate greenhouses which protect the solar array from the harsh conditions on the oilfield, such as strong winds and dust storms. The Miraah solar plant will generate solar thermal energy to produce steam used in thermal enhanced oil recover (EOR), much as the Belridge project will.