Eesti Energia hires 300 extra miners to meet rising shale oil demand

Oil shale mine interior.
Oil shale mine interior. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

State-owned energy company Eesti Energia is hiring hundreds of extra miners in Ida-Viru County to deal with an increased demand for oil shale caused by rising energy prices. So far, 300 more people have started work at the company.

The demand for more workers started to rise last November when the company restarted old power generation units, Tuesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" said.

The company does not see them closing any time soon and new contracts are open-ended rather than capped at one year.

"As of today, we have hired 300 people. We have covered the primary need and today we are looking for another 100+ people to start work with the additional number of employees from the beginning of September," said Andres Vainola, head of Enefit Power.

In order to continue growing, the company will need to find additional equipment. However, this currently has a delivery time of 18 months to two years, Vainola said.

"We are looking for more people step by step," he added.

Discussions are currently taking place about using shale oil to heat homes in Narva as many residents will be unable to afford natural gas prices this winter and stocks are currently hard to obtain.

Eesti Energia has said the switch would only take a couple of hours if the go-ahead is given.

Based on the Estonian Competition Authority's prices, a megawatt-hour of heat produced using gas costs €170-180, while generating the same amount of heat using shale oil costs just €60-70.

Shale oil is not used for heating under normal circumstances because of its bigger environmental impact.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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