Enefit Power has increased its shale oil mining capacity, opening previously closes areas, and will buy new equipment in the coming months to meet rising demand.
The company, a subsidiary of state-owned Eesti Energia, has recently reopened areas in its mines previously shuttered due to the green transition.
The need for shale oil, which is heavily polluting, will increase this winter as, among other reasons, several councils have been given the go-ahead to use the resource to bring down the price of district heating bills.
As the necessary equipment was sold with the closures of the mines, new tenders have been announced totaling €40 million.
Until the new equipment arrives, operations will be carried out on 24/7 seven days a week, Andres Vainola, chairman of the board of Enefit Power, told Wednesday's "Aktuaalne kaamera".
"This is a challenge for repair and maintenance workers, but we can do it, step by step, as new technology arrives from partners, we will increase our production capacity," he said.
The new equipment is expected to arrive at the end of this year and the start of the next.
Enefit Power has reduced the amount of shale oil used in its plants and replaced it with biomass in recent years, but the availability of wood has decreased and the prices have risen.
"If we look at the by-products we use — waste wood, logs, wood chips — it's become harder to get them. And another thing is the price. We always measure the price of oil shale versus wood chips, and that's the market we work in," said Vainola.
The company will increase its volume of shale oil mining in 2023, to a total of between 10 and 11 million tons. This year, it plans to extra 8 million tons from the Estonia Mine and Narva Quarry.
Editor: Barbara Oja, Helen Wright
Source: "Aktuaalne kaamera"