Solar Energy Powering Occidental’s Oil & Gas Operations

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Occidental, a Houston-based oil and gas exploration and production company, is using solar energy to directly power an enhanced oil recovery field operation in the Permian Basin.

The company’s Goldsmith field solar facility, built by Occidental in Ector County near Odessa, Texas, expands on the company’s commitment to economically lower its carbon footprint by using emissions-free power sources in operations. The facility features 174,000 photovoltaic panels with a total capacity of 16 MW – enough to power the operations at the Goldsmith field. First Solar manufactured the panels and is also under contract with OLCV to operate the facility.

In addition, the company, through its Oxy Low Carbon Ventures (OLCV) subsidiary, has signed a long-term power purchase agreement for 109 MW of solar, beginning in 2021, for use in its Permian operations.

“Occidental is taking an important step toward realizing our aspiration to become carbon-neutral through the use of emissions-free solar electricity,” says the company’s president and CEO, Vicki Hollub. “Using solar energy in our operations is another way Oxy Low Carbon Ventures is enhancing the profitability and sustainability of our business while meeting the challenge of reducing atmospheric greenhouse gases.”

OLCV also recently signed a 12-year solar power purchase agreement with a joint venture between Macquarie’s Green Investment Group and Core Solar LLC, whose solar project in West Texas will be operational in 2021.

“As the top producer in the Permian, we are focusing many of our low-carbon investments and projects in the region with the goal of becoming the leader in producing lower-carbon energy,” says OLCV’s president, Richard Jackson. “The solar facility and long-term solar power agreement further enable us to realize cost efficiencies and reduce the carbon intensity of our operations through the use of lower-carbon electricity, which, together, are ultimately expected to eliminate more than 160,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.”

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Steve Fortuna

New solar projects coming online probably make it the cheapest energy source they’ll get throughout their operation. When the dollars swing solar’s way, no stonewalling corrupt administration or gutted EPA is going to make a difference. Investors vote with their wallets and big utility scale solar with larger, cheaper batteries are going to win the battle for renewables soon enough.