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Shell Invests $26 Million in GlassPoint to Get Heavy Crude Deals

By Wael Mahdi – Dec 11, 2012 8:00 AM GMT

Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) invested $26 million in GlassPoint Solar Inc. to help it secure contracts in Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman to extract dense crude using steam produced from a solar plant, the California-based company said in a statement.

GlassPoint runs a 7-megawatt, four-acre (16,187-square meter) system in Oman that is deploying enhanced oil recovery, or EOR, technology, to inject steam into oilfields to loosen deposits.

“Oman, Kuwait, and Bahrain have plans to increase their production capacity through freeing heavy crude oil deposits,” GlassPoint Chief Executive Officer Rod Macgregor said yesterday in a telephone interview. “Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are getting there too, so it’s becoming the mainstream in the future.”

Oil producers in the Middle East are seeking to recover more oil and gas from their fields to meet rising local consumption and boost exports. To produce enough steam, producers in the region use natural gas that is limited in supply. That is making them consider solar energy instead, Macgregor said.

“EOR is an energy-intensive process and a country like Oman uses 22 percent of its total natural gas output to generate steam to pump more oil from the ground,” he said. “In the Gulf region, there are plenty of sun rays and there are heavy-crude oil deposits, so this is where we want to grow our business,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Wael Mahdi in Manama at [email protected].

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at [email protected]

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