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ARA Petroleum launches an innovative zero emission solar desalination plant in Oman

Omani energy company ARA Petroleum is set to launch a pioneering solar thermal powered desalination plant in Oman, poised to be one of the world’s first zero-emission facilities converting highly saline water into drinkable water. Located at the Qarat Al Milh site within Dhofar, this facility spans an area of 5,700 square kilometers, previously part of the Block 6 license owned by the state-majority PDO.

ARA Petroleum collaborated with Austrian startup Heliovis to implement the plant using Heliovis’ innovative low-cost solar thermal technology. This technology will allow the plant to produce up to 140 cubic meters of drinking water daily from produced water — a byproduct of hydrocarbon extraction featuring high salinity and contamination levels.

The agreement for this project was signed in November 2022, and Heliovis has recently completed installing a forward osmosis (FO) water desalination system with a zero liquid discharge (ZLD) unit at the site. This setup extracts potable water from the produced water generated within ARA’s concession.

The groundbreaking technology was highlighted at the Oman Petroleum & Energy Services (OPES) show in Muscat, where both companies presented the project. Heliovis’ solar thermal technology provides a sustainable, cost-effective alternative to traditional fossil-fuel powered desalination methods. It uses inflatable tubes and mirror films to concentrate sunlight, generating clean heat for industrial processes ranging from 90°C to 400°C. This technology offers significant advantages over conventional methods in terms of manufacturing, logistics, installation, and maintenance costs, and is especially beneficial for oilfield operations in remote areas.


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