Vähi: Sillamäe port interested in refinery

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) and Tiit Vähi at the Port of Sillamäe.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) and Tiit Vähi at the Port of Sillamäe. Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

Port of Sillamäe supervisory board chairman Tiit Vähi said that the Northeastern Estonian port is interested in establishing a shale oil pre-refinery on site, regional paper Põhjarannik reports.

Accoring to Vähi, he has been in touch with Estonian state-owned energy group Eesti Energia, shale oil producer Viru Keemia Grupp (VKG) as well as oil products producer Kiviõli Keemiatööstus in connection with the establishment of a proposed pre-refinery.

"We have not established any binding agreement, but hwe have said that if shale oil producers make a decision and want to establish this plant on the territory of the Port of Sillamäe, we will definitely provide good conditions for doing so," he told Põhjarannik.

Vähi added that the construction of a pre-refinery in Sillamäe makes sense logically, as large oil plants are located just 25 kilometers away. He recalled that the plan is to also establish a heavy fuel oil refinery on the territory of the port, and its environmental impact assessment has already been conducted in accordance with the law.

"Further research is needed on the shale oil refinery, but a great deal of progress has already been made in that regard," Vähi said.

Hando Sutter, CEO of the Estonian state-owned energy group Eesti Energia, said on Tuesday that Sillamäe would be a suitable location for the planned shale oil pre-refinery, although building the refinery in Auvere to the southeast would also have its benefits.

According to Sutter, Eesti Energia is expecting co-financing from the state's modernization fund, noting that public aid would cover 20 percent to one third of the total cost of the refinery.

Currently underway is an analysis aimed at providing a detailed overview of the technological aspects of the project as well as the investment required.

Late last month, the Estonian government endorsed in principle the construction of a shale oil refinery in Northeastern Estonia. Construction is estimated to cost €600 million and be completed by 2024 at the earliest.

The estimated smallest reasonable output capacity of such a plant is approximately 1 million tons per year. In 2018, more than 1.1 million tons of shale oil was produced in Estonia.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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