In its searching for alternative methods to maximise production at a cheaper price, Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) said it was in discussions with companies to use solar for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) to help meet the government’s 15% renewable energy target and reduce energy imports, The National reported. “We are looking at solar as there’s a need for it in our EOR,” Raed Sherif,  a Senior Consultant at KOC, said.

According to See News Renewables, solar is being considered as a cheaper alternative to using imported natural gas or petroleum to produce steam for EOC. California-based Glasspoint Solar  was cited as saying that solar steam could supply most of Kuwait’s thermal EOR demand at half the price of these fuels. There is potential for the technology in Kuwait as, according to Glasspoint, the country’s planned EOR projects could be some of the biggest in the world.

Kuwait faces a gas deficit triggered by its power sector as well as industrial expansion which will force the country to burn a high amount of imported natural gas or petroleum to generate steam. The country began importing liquefied natural gas more than six years ago and Glasspoint estimates that using LNG to fuel these EOR projects could cost up to $13 per million British thermal unit. “Solar steam could supply the majority of Kuwait’s thermal EOR needs at half the cost of these fuel alternatives,” Glasspoint said.