PDO’s headquarters in Muscat to be fully solar-powered

PDOThe Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) headquarters at Mina Al Fahal will be completely powered by solar energy by the end of the year, a major stride towards its transformation into a fully fledged energy company

The company officially opened its first solar car park where thousands of solar panels are installed in car parks to provide power for office buildings. The 6MW first phase that will be completed in March will power nearly half of the headquarters 12MW requirements. The capacity will be nearly doubled by November to fulfil all power needs of the offices at Mina Al Fahal concession area.

“By November this year, our headquarters at PDO will be independent of power from the grid. The first phase powers nearly 50 per cent of our requirements and second phase will be nearly the same capacity to make us power PDO offices only by solar energy,”Mohammed Al Aghbari, infrastructure and power systems manager at PDO said.

Al Aghbari added that as the project is grid connected, power during the weekends and holidays will be fed back to the Muscat Interconnected System. The system will take power from the grid once the sun is down but power requirement during that time is expected to be very low.

The first phase is expected to save more than 3.1mn cu/m of gas a year, enough to provide electricity for almost 1,000 homes. It will also cut CO2 emissions by 6,662 tonnes annually, the equivalent of taking more than 1,400 cars off the road or planting almost 173,000 trees. The 6MWp capacity will generate 9,480,000 electrical units (kWh) per year.

The renewable energy scheme was executed as a joint venture by Spanish company Elecnor S.A. in partnership with Omani firm Rukun Al Yaqeen (RAY) International LLC.

It involved installing a total of 19,500 solar photovoltaic (PV) modules to the canopies of 2,054 parking lots and is the largest solar scheme at a single location in Oman spanning an area of 37,830 sq m. The solar plant requires minimum effort to operate and maintain at negligible operating costs for a projected 25 year life cycle.

“As this was the first solar energy project, our major challenge was that we did not have the expertise available in Oman to develop such a sophisticated system.

“Therefore, we had to ask a European company and an Omani firm to partner with us to build this capacity. I will encourage private sector to take such initiatives and PDO will be more than happy to help and support them,” Al Aghbari said.

Mohammed bin Salim Al Tobi, Oman’s minister of environment and climate affairs, said, “No doubt this project will contribute to protecting the environment and reducing harmful emissions and electricity consumption. It is one of the first projects in the Sultanate to utilise solar energy at this scale alongside the Miraah project in the Amal oilfield, which is the biggest in the region.”

PDO managing director Raoul Restucci added, “As well as supporting economic sustainability, we are also committed to environmental stewardship across our entire hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon portfolio.

“This project is the latest move by PDO into renewables and we believe there is a lot more potential to harness the sun’s energy across our operations and the Sultanate generally. It also provides an opportunity to develop Omani capability in solar and to build a local supply chain in this growing area.”

PDO is promoting renewable energy in the oil and gas sector while expanding its renewable energy journey in its concession area. It is already using solar energy for street lighting and water heating in its Ras Al Hamra residential development and has completed the first block of Miraah, the largest solar energy plant at peak capacity in the world built with partner GlassPoint Solar, at its Amal cluster in southern Oman.

The Miraah project is harnessing sun’s rays to create steam as an alternative to gas for use in thermal enhanced oil recovery and has successfully delivered steam to Amal West oilfield. PDO is also providing technical support to government and private sector entities in Oman.


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