• 3 minutes Shale Oil Fiasco
  • 7 minutes "Leaked" request by some Democrats that they were asking Nancy to coordinate censure instead of impeachment.
  • 12 minutes Trump's China Strategy: Death By a Thousand Paper Cuts
  • 16 minutes Global Debt Worries. How Will This End?
  • 15 mins americavchina.com (otherwise known as OilPrice).
  • 6 hours Democrats through impeachment process helped Trump go out of China deal conundrum. Now Trump can safely postpone deal till after November 2020 elections
  • 16 hours Forget The Hype, Aramco Shares May be Valued At Zero Next Year
  • 1 day Natural Gas
  • 9 hours Iraq war and Possible Lies
  • 9 hours POTUS Trump signs the HK Bill
  • 21 hours Joe Biden, his son Hunter Biden, Ukraine Oil & Gas exploration company Burisma, and 2020 U.S. election shenanigans
  • 12 hours READ: New Record Conoco Eagleford Vintage 5 wells, their 5th generation test wells . . . Shale going bust . . . LAUGHABLE
  • 2 days 2nd Annual Great Oil Price Prediction Challenge of 2019
  • 2 days Wallstreet's "acid test" for Democrat Presidential candidate to receive their financial backing . . . Support "Carried Interest" . . Leave it alone
  • 2 days Winter Storms Hitting Continental US
  • 1 day Aramco Raises $25.6B in World's Biggest IPO
  • 2 hours Everything you think you know about economics is WRONG!
  • 1 day My interview on PDVSA Petrocaribe and corruption

Breaking News:

Surprise Crude Build Threatens Oil Rally

Alt Text

Solar Stocks Are Booming This Year

The solar industry is on…

Alt Text

The Remarkable History Of Solar Energy

The benefits of solar energy…

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

More Info

Premium Content

The Solar Tech That Is Making Cleaner Oil

It’s clear: fossil fuel majors from around the world are preparing to redefine their core competency from oil and gas extraction to “energy” provision over the next few decades. In the meantime, the biggest players are working on getting their oil operations on the green side.

Aera Energy, a joint venture owned by Shell and ExxonMobil, is building California’s largest solar energy project in the San Joaquin Valley, where 1.7 billion barrels of heavy oil have been extracted since operations began in 1911.

The company will install 770 acres of glass homes with solar thermal mirrored throughs. Forbes estimates the total cost of the project at $250 million. As the sun travels from east to the west in sunny California, the panels’ angle will change to match the celestial body’s daily dance, which will allow a maze of pipes to heat water and create industrial steam.

The 12 million barrels of steam generated per year at the facility will be used to cut carbon emissions from the Belridge oilfield’s production operations. The steam generated by the solar thermal project will be used to heat heavy oil and make it flow to the surface more easily.  The project will be connected to the California power grid and is expected to eliminate 375,000 tons of carbon emissions per year, leaving $15 million in gas savings annually.

“It’s a challenge in California, where you need your performance to be even stronger to offset the regulatory costs of doing business here,” Aera CEO Christina Sistrunk told Forbes recently. “Previously we couldn’t afford to do it.”

Related: The 'Mega' Oil Field That Will Never Boom

GlassPoint, the company installing the glass homes to Aera’s orders, has done projects like this in the past. It built a similar project in another part of Kern County six years ago, which led to a $600 million project in Oman to construct a 1,000MW steam-powered oil extraction system. That project reduced GlassPoint’s costs by a full 55 percent from the scale-up.

GlassPoint CEO Ben Bierman sees his contribution to the oil supply chain as an essential upgrade to oilfields around the world. Bierman’s product reduces emissions in the non-commercial sector, but the world’s fossil fuel providers will eventually have to abandon their old ways entirely. 

For the biggest firms, like Exxon, Total, Shell and others, the transition will not be hasty—and it need not be. The world will still need copious amounts of non-renewable energy as the phase-out is underway. But these same companies will eventually need to emerge as leaders in the green energy game to stay relevant. Related: Oil Price Boom Keeps Lid On Natural Gas Prices

Private sector leadership will make a huge dent in ensuring the United States meets its carbon targets. Oil and gas companies have faced an existential human resources scare over the past few years as negative portrayals of the environmental effects of fuel usage sweep the media.

Millennials are also disinterested in taking petroleum engineering coursework in college to work for an industry in its dying decades. Large investments in green energy promise new talent for oil companies. Whether they become part of a supply chain upgrade or link directly to homes and businesses, every offset in oil and gas demand contributes to the industry’s stated end goal: a world where energy complements the environment, instead of threatening its delicate balance. 

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage



Leave a comment
  • snoopyloopy on December 07 2017 said:
    This project won't just save them money in natural gas costs, it will also greatly reduce the amount of credits that they have to buy under CA's cap-and-trade system and this project might actually provide them with a net positive in credits that they can sell on the market.
  • Lee James on December 08 2017 said:
    Agreed. From oil companies to energy companies ... increasingly clean energy companies. It's a necessary transition. The only question is how quickly to transition.
  • R James on December 08 2017 said:
    630 Acres of solar!!? You understand this is a section of land completely covered by solar receivers for a simple heavy oil extraction scheme. And this is a virtuous endeavor?

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play