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Sutter hopes new US administration will favor Estonia's Utah project

Hando Sutter, CEO of Eesti Energia.
Hando Sutter, CEO of Eesti Energia. Source: (Mihkel Maripuu/Postimees/Scanpix)

State-owned energy group Eesti Energia CEO Hando Sutter said that political favor toward the group's Utah project may increase under the Trump administration.

Sutter told ERR's radio news that it is known that the U.S. has the world's largest oil shale reserves, and thus support has already previously existed for adopting oil shale into use.

"The fact that there is a new presidential administration that has indeed expressed the view on energy-related topics that domestic energy production must be supported, even if it is of fossil origin, may indeed increase interest in this project," he said.

"Currently we have not yet been able to identify direct impacts on our project, however the sentiment is such that these types of projects should be politically favored in the U.S.," Sutter noted hopefully.

Eesti Energia's Utah project is currently in the pre-development phase; the company is currently focused primarily on procuring the necessary environmental permits and hopes to receive the environmental permits needed for a pipeline set to cross through public lands this year.

Last year, an independent consultant assessed the Estonian company's minable reserves to total 514 million barrels in size.

No other oil shale project has made it so far into development in the US , which is why Eesti Energia hopes that all of the aforementioned factors will help increase the project's competitiveness and, in the case of favorable market conditions, attract strategic investors.

Eesti Energia owns an estimated total of 6 billion tons of oil shale in the state of Utah.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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