Shell, RockPort Capital, Nth Power and Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital invest in GlassPoint to drive large-scale solar EOR deployment
FREMONT, Calif. & MUSCAT, Oman–(BUSINESS WIRE)–GlassPoint Solar Inc., a leader in solar enhanced oil recovery (EOR), today announced it has closed a US$26 million Series B financing round. The round included participation from a new strategic investor, Royal Dutch Shell plc group, one of the world’s largest oil companies, as well as leading energy investors RockPort Capital, Nth Power and Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, an existing investor. The funding is a key next step to future large-scale deployment of GlassPoint’s solar steam technology in EOR projects around the world.
GlassPoint’s unique design encloses parabolic troughs inside a glasshouse structure, which protects the system from high winds and seals the solar collectors from dust, dirt, sand and humidity. The protected environment enables the use of ultralight, low-cost reflective materials and automated washing equipment, further reducing costs and water use. Furthermore, GlassPoint steam generators are designed to use the same low-quality boiler water as once-through steam generators, the industry’s current best practices, eliminating the need for costly water pretreatment.
Thermal EOR is a proven technique to facilitate the recovery of heavy oil that is too thick to pump to the surface using conventional means. High-pressure steam is injected underground in order to raise the temperature of the oil and change its consistency from that of molasses to that of water. Normally, the steam is generated by burning very large amounts of natural gas, but in the GlassPoint system, the steam is generated by concentrating sunlight onto pipes that contain water. This approach to EOR may significantly reduce the amount of natural gas used for EOR, which is an important consideration in regions of the world where gas is a scarce and expensive commodity. The natural gas that is saved and not burned for EOR applications can be used for higher value applications such as power generation, desalination, industrial development and exported as LNG.
“We are delighted that Shell and some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent energy investors chose to participate in this round of funding,” said Rod MacGregor, CEO of GlassPoint. “We believe this investment validates our business and technical approach of creating solar solutions specifically for the oil and gas industry.”
Geert van de Wouw, Fund Manager, Shell Technology Ventures, said: “Our decision to invest in GlassPoint is further underpinned by the extensive definition and assessment work undertaken by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), a joint venture between the Government of Oman, Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Partex, with a 7 MW solar project field trial currently in construction in the Sultanate of Oman. The collaboration with GlassPoint and PDO represents an exciting opportunity to leverage an innovative technology which aims to use the full potential of solar power in the oil and gas industry. We are looking forward to the outcome of the solar trial which, if successful, can help to optimize oil recovery and avoid the use of valuable natural gas in Thermal EOR projects. The promise of the GlassPoint system is that it is expected to lower both the economic cost of producing oil whilst at the same time reducing our footprint.”
“At GlassPoint we believe in creating in-country value wherever we do business,” said Rod MacGregor, CEO of GlassPoint. “To support our projects we aim to create local factories generating employment and demand for local goods and services like steel and aluminum.”
Last year, GlassPoint unveiled the world’s first commercial solar EOR project at a 100-year old oil field operated by Berry Petroleum in McKittrick, California. The company is currently constructing a 7 MW field trial project in Southern Oman together with PDO.
About GlassPoint Solar
GlassPoint is the leading provider of solar steam generators to the oil and gas industry. When used for Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), GlassPoint solar steam generators reduce natural gas consumption by up to 80%, redirecting gas resources to higher value applications such as electricity generation and export. GlassPoint’s solar EOR solution delivers steam at costs competitive with gas-fired steam generation, enabling producers to economically recover more oil. GlassPoint drives lower costs by enclosing lightweight components within a glasshouse to seal the system from sand, dust, dirt and high humidity typical of oilfield environments throughout the world. The company is headquartered in Fremont, California with offices in Bakersfield, California, Muscat, Oman and Shenzhen, China. For more information, visit glasspoint.com.