Bapco pioneering use of solar energy
Manama, May 19, 2010
Bapco, one of Bahrain's biggest companies, has begun conducting tests with the aim of introducing solar energy.
Negotiations are ongoing with overseas companies about installation of such facilities at Bapco and all of the country's petroleum sector facilities, a senior official revealed.
Delivering the keynote speech at the Energy Evolution Middle East Conference at Bahrain Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Spa yesterday, Oil and Gas Affairs Minister and National Oil and Gas Authority (Noga) chairman Dr Abdulhussain Mirza said the government department was pioneering the use of renewable energy across the country.
'Solar energy modules have been installed at Bapco facilities and these are being tested now,' he said.
'The results so far have been very encouraging and positive. We have already opened negotiations with Japanese firms on the possible applications and installation of solar energy generating modules for petroleum sector facilities and these should bear fruit soon.'
Dr Mirza said Bapco could soon be considered a 'green' area for alternative energy production.
'We are also testing wind energy modules at some of our facilities and these, together with solar modules testing, could soon be used Bapco-wide,' he said.
'An environmental improvement programme has been part of Bapco's strategic planning since 1998, supported by Noga and the country's leadership.'
The two-day conference, by the CWC Group and supported by Noga, ends today.
'The conference aims to address the most critical debatable issues facing us in the global energy sector, including climate change, the need to diversify the energy mix, renewable energy sources as well as the effective and efficient utilisation of clean technologies in all energy sources and reduction of their impact on the atmosphere and environment,' said Dr Mirza.
'Energy evolution is the concern of governments worldwide and Noga and Bahrain have taken action on their energy evolution journey to protect the environment.
'We see the next decade as a breakthrough for clean technologies and alternative energy.'
He said the sustainability of modern societies and economies depended on the availability of energy and the world's major source fossil fuels, which would not last indefinitely.
'While considering this situation, international community has taken action to maintain the standard of living currently achieved worldwide.
'On the one hand in terms of fossil fuels, new energy sources have been explored to diversify the energy mix.
'New technology has been applied to the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil industry to sustain conventional energy sources and manufacture cleaner fuels and on the other, technological breakthroughs have been achieved to increase the use of renewable energy sources - be it solar, wind, fuel cells or even nuclear.'
Dr Mirza said to make such a paradigm shift in sustainable energy, the proper political and economic atmosphere must be created. He said the GCC countries were committed to diversify their energy base and a number of solar and nuclear energy projects had been implemented.
'One must also recognise that, at the same time, the GCC commitment towards ensuring supplies of oil to the international markets calls upon them to make huge investment in developing and increasing production capacities,' he said.
Dr Mirza said the GCC countries had spent more than $50 billion (BD18.9 billion) in the last decade increasing their oilfield production capacities and developing new discoveries.
'These expansions have taken place mainly in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain.'
Dr Mirza said Bahrain was also exploring, surveying and evaluating capabilities and potentialities in the area of renewable energy sources.
'Our aim is to ultimately seek a balanced energy supply scenario in Bahrain and we have already become a signatory of International Renewable Energy Agency.'
He said in the GCC, the most attractive renewable energy schemes were based on solar energy. 'Central power plants based on solar energy seem to be a legitimate line of thinking.
'Wind farms in certain regions may also be a way forward after making sure the average wind speeds are sufficient. Large wind turbines on buildings were unthinkable until designers and investors in Bahrain World Trade Centre took a brave decision to pioneer it,' he added.
The conference will also feature senior level discussions on the rapid and strategic deployment of clean technologies, interactive panel discussions with industry leaders, international case studies and showcase clean energy technology.-TradeArabia News Service