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This year Estonia celebrates 100th anniversary of oil shale mining

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Current year is significant for oil shale industry in Estonia – 100 years have passed from the beginning of oil shale mining. The jubilee year is celebrated by many local representatives and know-how developers in the field of oil shale, among them Oil Shale Competence Center, Eesti Energia, Viru Keemia Grupp and Kiviõli Chemical Plant.


“The events taken place hundred years ago led to the origin of local oil shale industry. Over the 100 years, we have acquired unique knowledge of world importance and skills in oil shale technology playing significant role for all processing enterprises running in Estonia, as well as for the research and educational organizations. In the jubilee year we are concentrating on what the oil shale industry has achieved and how it answers to the changed market conditions,” said Kalle Pirk, Head of Oil Shale Competence Center.

According to Pirk, oil shale industry of Estonia has travelled a long road of development, in the course of which the biggest value of the most important mineral resource of Estonia has been got, than ever formerly. „Now the industry is the most effective and environmental friendly at all times and is ready to enter, figuratively speaking, into the next century. It is pleasant to note that oil shale field progress went through close cooperation between industry and universities“, marked Pirk.

Chairman of the Board of Eesti Energia Hando Sutter said, that in spite of this, that oil shale industry has met the beginning of the jubilee year with very low world market petroleum prices, the records of production and electricity consumption at the beginning of the year are evidence of that oil shale industry will play as usual important role in power economy of Estonia. "For its whole long history oil shale industry has proved that it can adapt and that is up to now. In joint production of shale oil, gas and electrical energy the newest technologies give us possibility to get from oil shale over 80% of the energy contained in it. Besides, oil shale power plants produce electricity and heat from biomass, it means that present oil shale industry makes contribution to renewable energy goals achievement," gave he examples of effectiveness and adaptability of the industry.

According to Ahti Asmann, the Chairman of the Board of Viru Keemia Grupp, centenary history of oil shale industry saw a great deal: war and peace-time, swift stages of development and crises of the largest oil markets, what the jubilee year has been marked by. Complicated times demand adjustment to the market conditions from enterprises, offering more challenges, but also opening new possibilities. Due to technological advance happened for the last decade, Estonian oil shale industry is the world leader in opening of the potential of oil shale. The factor of success here, without doubt, are the people – the best specialist of oil shale industry and engineers of the previous generations. Just because of great contribution of the employees, today's oil shale industry is characterized by energy-efficient plants producing shale oil, ecological and smart engineering solutions, capital-intensive investments, as well as big additional cost and high tax proceeds into state treasure.


According to Marti Hääl, the Chairman of the Board of Kiviõli Chemical Plant, the jubilee is the remarkable occasion not only for the people connected with oil shale industry, but it symbolizes worthy history and experience of mining industry of Estonia. The jubilee year is a good possibility to look far ahead and to make sure that the future of Ida-Virumaa – as regards to importance of minerals for chemical industry - is prospective. In this connection, it is important to forward message about long-term, strategic support of the industry on the part of the state to the people of Ida-Virumaa, the community and youth, whose choice of profession is still before.

Important event of the jubilee year, on Eesti Energia's initiative, will be International Symposium „Oil Shale 100“ to be taken place on the 20-23 September. 100 years later from the beginning of oil shale mining the parties consider that it is important to continue tradition of Miner's Day celebrating, which to be taken place at the end of August present year. This year excursions to the mines and industrial enterprises, as well as to the Oil Shale Competence Center will be jointly arranged. Traditional conference, organized annually by Oil Shale Competence Center of Virumaa College of TUT in November, this time will be dedicated to the jubilee year and to the burning topics of the sector. Kiviõli Chemical Plant together with the town Kiviõli arranges for the ordinary time Day of the town and Chemists' Day in May. The jubilee year of oil shale industry and the 70th birthday of Kiviõli town will be celebrated by this large event.

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