After a meeting on oil shale rock development in Estonia, three government ministers said the development plan should take the falling oil prices into consideration.
The ministers of the economy, finance and the environment said there is no case for redistributing mining rights, despite Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas earlier saying the mining quotas favor state-owned Eesti Energia over Viru Keemia Grupp (VKG).
New Environmental Minister Mati Raidma said redistribution could cause social problems as one company could begin to mine more and the other would have nothing to do with its mined resource, pointing to the fact that Eesti Energia mines far more than VKG, but sells part of its mined oil shale rock to the privately-owned company.
He said the quotas, including the total 20-million ton per year oil shale rock mining limit, should not be changed until these problems are solved.
VKG, currently mining 2.7 million tons annually, has been lobbying for more of the resource
Both Eesti Energia and VKG have been aiming to set up shale oil refineries to produce diesel fuel, although both have shelved plans. Both companies, who make up the vast majority of the oil shale industry in Estonia, have constructed plants to produce shale oil from oil shale rock, in a drive to maximize energy extraction from the resource.
The price of crude petrol has dropped to around 50 US dollars per barrel, from around 100 euros in mid-2014.
Editor: J.M. Laats