Oil shale industry in Estonia

80% of oil shale used globally is extracted in Estonia, mainly due to the Oil-shale-fired Narva power plants. The largest Estonian producer of electricity and heat energy is the Narva power plants, owned by Eesti Energia, which provide over 90% of the electricity produced in Estonia. When all boilers are operating, the Eesti power plant is capable of producing 1,355 MW and the Balti power plant 432 MW of electricity per hour.

An average of between nine and thirteen million tonnes of oil shale is delivered to the Narva power plants from the mines each year.

In Estonia oil shale is extracted by opencast and by underground mining. The enrichment process for oil shale removes limestone from the raw mix of oil shale and limestone produced by mining.

Estonia is one of the largest industrial producers of shale oil in the world and VKG is the largest manufacturer of shale oil and chemicals in Estonia. In 2012, the processing capacity of the group amounted to 2.4 mln tons of oil shale, and the amount of produced shale oil made up 365,000 tons. In the world, VKG comes second for its processing capacities after the oil shale processing facility in Fushun, China, and before the oil shale processing company Petrobras in Brazil.

The amount of oil shale that can be mined in Estonia is 20 million tonnes per year. The peak year for oil shale mining was 1980, when 29.7 million tonnes were mined.