Despite low crude oil prices at the beginning of 2016, a total of €63 million was invested in the oil shale industry in Estonia last year, €103 million was contributed to public revenues and the industry employed 6,400 people, it appears from the yearbook released by the Estonian oil shale industry.
Kalle Pirk, head of the Oil Shale Competence Center, said that research and development activities are what determine the future of the field of oil shale.
"Estonian engineers and researchers today are working with the aim of ensuring that the value of oil shale is increased to the maximum and that the industry is sustainable, innovative and benefits society as well," said Pirk. "We have already proved ourselves on the international level as well by conducting research and realizing large projects. In addition to this, 'Processing of oil shale and oil shale products,' a technical committee of standardization, is in active operation as well."
According to Eesti Energia CEO Hando Sutter, the best guarantee against fluctuating energy prices is increasing efficiency. "New oil production records confirm that, with the technology developed in Estonia, we are able to take maximum advantage of the potential of our natural resources," he said. "Our strategic goal is to constantly increase the competition of oil shale production assets."
"2016 turned out to be challenging and forced all participants in the oil shale sector to adapt to the complicated market situation and develop new ways of operating effectively," Viru Keemia Grupp (VKG) CEO Ahti Asmann said. "All of this did not hinder VKG from maintaining a direction of sustainable development. I cannot deny it — challenges toughen us up and motivate us to be flexible."
"The drastic fall in the global market prices of oil in recent years delivered a blow to the operating chances of an industry with decades of experience in the Republic of Estonia, causing the unemployment of thousands of peple," said Alexela Group CEO Andreas Laane. He said that the Estonian government demonstrated statesmanship in these times and a quick decision created a tax environment which helped the oil shale industry to overcome the situation.
The yearbook of the Estonian oil shale industry is published by the Oil Shale Competence Center of the Virumaa College of Tallinn University of Technology (TTÜ), Eesti Energia, VKG and Kiviõli Keemiatööstus.
Editor: Aili Vahtla