The oil industry uses steam to extract oil from the ground and uses natural gas to produce that steam. In the desert however you can produce steam much cheaper than with natural gas, namely with concentrated solar power (CSP). Through this technology it becomes economical to extract more oil than was possible with natural gas. The US 2009 startup Glasspoint uses that technology in California and Oman. Characteristic for Glasspoint is that it builds a greenhouse around its CSP-mirrors to shield it from desert elements and allow for cheaper, less robust CSP-structures. Glasspoint claims to be able to produce steam 2-3 times cheaper than with conventional CSP.
Sadly, Glasspoint didn’t survive the Corona-induced oil price slump and went bust this month. Shell and Exxon were not willing to put more money into the operation.