Solar thermal enhanced oil recovery (S-EOR) is an advanced technique of using concentrated solar power (CSP) technology to generate steam and recover oil from maturing oil reservoirs. The generated steam is injected at high pressure and temperature into the reservoir wells to facilitate oil production. There are three common methods of steam injection in enhanced oil recovery – continuous steam injection, cyclic steam stimulation (CSS) and steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD). Conventionally, this steam is generated through natural gas (NG) fired boilers with associated greenhouse gas emissions. However, pilot projects in the USA (Coalinga, California) and Oman (Miraah, Amal) demonstrated the use of S-EOR to meet their steam requirements despite the intermittent nature of solar irradiation. Hence, conventional steam based EOR projects under the Sunbelt region can benefit from S-EOR with reduced operational expenditure (OPEX) and increased profitability in the long term, even with the initial investment required for solar equipment. S-EOR can be realized as an opportunity for countries not owning any natural gas resources to make them less energy dependent and less sensible to gas price fluctuations, and for countries owning natural gas resources to reduce their gas consumption and export it for a higher margin. In this study, firstly, the market potential of S-EOR was investigated worldwide by covering some of the major ongoing steam based EOR projects as well as future projects in pipeline. A multi-criteria analysis was performed to compare local conditions and requirements of all the oil fields based on a defined set of parameters. Secondly, a modelling approach for S-EOR was designed to identify cost reduction opportunities and optimum solar integration techniques, and the Issaran oil field in Egypt was selected for a case study to substantiate the approach. This modelling approach can be consulted to develop S-EOR projects for any steam flooding based oil fields. The model was developed for steam flooding requirements in Issaran oil field using DYESOPT, KTH’s in-house tool for techno-economic modelling in CSP.

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