Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and GlassPoint Solar have broken ground on their landmark solar project ‘Miraah’ in Oman, said Trade Arabia.

The site preparation and grading for the project began one month ahead of schedule, said a statement.

The project, dubbed Miraah (or mirror in Arabic), will harness the power of the sun to create the steam used in heavy oil production, applying the technology to oil from the Amal oilfield in southern Oman.

Raoul Restucci, managing director of PDO, said: “The ground-breaking is a significant milestone for PDO and GlassPoint as we progress towards the safe and efficient delivery of Miraah. I commend the project team and our local contractors for their tireless efforts to not only stay on track, but pushing forward ahead of schedule.

“PDO is proud to lead the industry in deploying innovative solutions that allow us to develop our heavy oil while at the same time reduce our energy consumption and our costs. Miraah will provide a substantial amount of the steam demand at Amal, reducing our reliance on natural gas to make steam. The gas saved can be used by other industries to support Oman’s diversification and economic growth strategies,” Restucci added.

“Miraah will be 100 times larger than our solar pilot at Amal, which has been operating successfully for nearly three years now. The pilot was built safely, on time and on budget, providing invaluable experience to ensure we achieve this same success with Miraah at commercial-scale,” Rod MacGregor, president and CEO of GlassPoint, was quoted by the Times of Oman as saying.

He added: “Miraah will generate significant value for the Sultanate by creating new opportunities in supply chain development, manufacturing capacity, employment and training. We are committed to working with local contractors throughout the value chain, from construction to the sourcing of local materials.”

In point of fact, the site grading is being conducted by a Local Community Contractor owned and operated by Omanis that live in the communities surrounding the Amal field.

This is part of the PDO’s and GlassPoint’s joint commitment to In-country Value by developing a local Omani workforce and job opportunities for local contractors and small business, said the Times of Oman.