Estonia's largest private mining and energy company Viru Keemia Grupp (VKG) will open its third shale oil plant at the end of August.
Kohtla-Järve local authorities gave the plant, named Petroter III, the final official green light, and construction is nearly completed.
VKG board member Nikolai Petrovitš said the project will be completed in a very short time, with the building design phase only beginning two years ago. He said VKG hopes to produce the first shale oil from oil shale rock by the end of the month.
“If everything goes according to plan, then we hope to be fully operational in September, which is very ambitious but also realistic,” Petrovitš said.
The plant will bring in 100 jobs and create 400 jobs indirectly, which is more than good news for the area which has recently lost 200 jobs from competitor Eesti Energia and 426 jobs from a fertilizer company.
VKG CEO Priit Rohumaa said the project cost 84 million euros, and was financed by SEB, Nordea and Pohjola banks. He said the sector needs support from the state, and a more stable tax system, to continue developing.
At the end of 2014, the state announced an increase in environment tax, although it did allow companies to mine more oil shale rock. Last year, VKG made 200 staff redundant due to falling oil prices.
Editor: J.M. Laats