BrightSource-Chevron Joint Solar Project To Extract Heavy Oil, Suffers Losses

brightsource solar thermalBrightSource solar thermal illustration: Better than using the sun to soften oil

BrightSource Energy, the California based solar thermal energy company whose technology as innovated in Israel, and whose solar “star” was even touted by US President Barack Obama, is now in financial hot water again as its joint oil recovery project with giant energy company Chevron, appears to have incurred “significant cost overruns”, according to Reuters.

The oil recovery project, in which BrightSource’s patented solar thermal technology would be used to inject high pressure steam into oil wells to help Chevron soften the oil, would help pull out deeply embedded “heavy oil”. The company is incurring heavy financial losses of about $40.2 million, which company officials claim is $29.7 million more than “originally anticipated”.

BrightSouce, which in the past had its mega solar energy projects in California even shelved at one point due to environmental and other issues, seemed to be improving its energy image, following the US president’s endorsement, and the promise of over $1 billion in loan guarantees from the US government.

But the company may now have gotten itself into both financial and environmental trouble again by becoming involved in a project that smacks of similarity with the Alberta Tar Sands  project in which another Israeli founded company, Ormat Industries is involved in.

In filing the operating loss statement, BrightSource still believes that its solar generated steam technology can significantly help Enhanced Oil Recovery projects (EOR) like the one with Chevron. The companies were to extract the sticky black substance that many environmentalist attribute to the sad state of global warming and climate change that the plant earth is presently in. The EOR project was expected to go live this year, but unforeseeable engineering costs, and weather related events has seriously affected the financial forecast of the company.

For its part, BrightSource might better consider improving its solar thermal technology to create energy from solar sources instead to helping to extract more fossil based energy from the ground.

Read more on BrightSource  company projects:
Obama touts Israel developed Solar Company Bright Source
Bright Source Expands on Coyote Land in Nevada
Bright Source Gets a Billion
BrightSource Solar Energy Project in Mojave Desert Shelved

 

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