The revenue of Estonian mining and shale oil producer Viru Keemia Grupp (VKG) grew 11 percent on year to €49.5 million in the first quarter of 2018.
All three VKG Petroter shale oil plants worked 90 percent of the time in the first quarter of the year, including 99 percent of the time in March. The increase in production activity can be attributed to the high dependability of the plants and the increase in global oil prices, VKG said.
Output indicators also increased in all segments.
1.1 million tons of commercial grade oil shale was produced during this three-month period, five percent more than in the same period a year ago.
The Ojamaa mine has reached its maximum production capacity, which allows it to cover 90 percent of the supply needs of the employed production capacities of VKG. Altogether 1.2 million tons of oil shale was processed, and 147,000 tons of commercial grade oil was produced from oil shale. Both indicators were up seven percent on year.
The seamless work of the shale oil plants increased the volume of shale oil gases produced, the processing of which produced 101 gigawatt-hours of electric energy, 19 percent more than in the same three month period last year.
Colder-than-average weather and increased sales to industrial customers increased the amount of thermal energy released by VKG by nine percent. Demand has clearly grown for fine chemicals emerging in the reprocessing of phenol-water, a by-product of the production of shale oil. The sales volume of such phenol products, used mainly by rubber, cosmetics and pharmaceutical companies in Asia, increased by 200 percent.
The biggest investment in development in recent years, the first stage of a €6.5 million project for the purification of circulation oils, will be launched this month. The launch will increase the annual output capacity of VKG's oil plants by 25,000 tons. Beginning in June, the Estonian state-owned Eesti Energia group will begin supplying oil shale to VKG, which will allow the group to relaunch one of the two conserved Kiviter plants. In total, the sale of commercial grade oils is set to grow by a further 10-15 percent.
Various taxes and charges paid by VKG into the state budget during the quarter amounted to €9.3 million, 12 percent more than during the same period last year.
Editor: Aili Vahtla