JPT California Becomes a Proving Ground for Solar EOR Technology

SPE.org 

California is known for being at the forefront of renewable technology adoption and greenhouse gas emissions curtailment. Even in an industry seen by many residents as archaic, oil producers are increasingly seeking out alternative sources of energy to use in operations. The high number of aging heavy oilfields, high quantity of sunshine, and state's environmental sensibilities make for an ideal proving ground for a technology that brings two divergent industries together: solar thermal enhanced oil recovery (EOR). In 2011, Berry Petroleum and solar energy provider GlassPoint started up a 300-kW thermal project at McKittrick oilfield in Kern County that ultimately produced 1 million Btus/hr of solar heat over its 5-year lifespan while reducing the field's gas consumption. That same year, Chevron Technology Ventures and BrightSource Energy launched a 29-MW thermal solar-to-steam facility as part of a 3-year pilot project at Coalinga oilfield in Fresno County.