Oil in Estonia

Oil Production700thousand tonnes per year

Estonia has the most advanced oil shale industry in the world. Currently oil shale is mostly used for electricity production, and increasingly more for oil production. Oil shale continues to play an important role in the Estonian future energy mix. Oil shale is currently the dominant factor why Estonia is the least energy dependent in the European Union and provides 4-5% of the Estonian GDP.

There are three producers, EestiEnergia (internationally known as Enefit), ViruKeemiaGrupp (VKG), and KiviõliKeemiatööstus. Enefit produces 80% of Estonia’s electricity from oil shale and operates two Enefit140 retorts and one Enefit280 retort producing shale oil at a rate of about 8,000 BOPD. In 2015, Enefit´s oil production grew to 2,15 million barrels, despite the market slump. Enefit is planning to gradually increase production, as the company has a new production facility reaching design capacity and maximum load – the Enefit280, which has proven to have very low air emissions and significantly increased efficiency.

In addition, Enefit is developing capacities to purify heavy fuel oil and extract gasoline from retort gas, both developments will have a positive impact on the production volumes. In 2015, Enefit has doubled its shale oil production, whereas about 40% of its total volumes coming from the new Enefit280 oil plant. The most important challenges of energy production in Estonia are reducing CO2-intensity and meeting the challenges of the competitive markets.

Enefit has invested heavily over the past years into increase the efficiency and lower the environmental impacts of energy production and our production facilities are in full compliance with the stringent EU emission directives. Enefit has lowered air emissions of oil shale utilisation dramatically during the last years. Enefit has modified some of their existing power production facilities to use up to 50% of woodchips, a renewable resource and see that it is a viable solution to gradually and affordably increase the renewable energy production in Estonia.

VKG commissioned a second and a third Petroter plant in August 2014, and third in November 2015 with efficiency over 75% and lower environmental impacts. This rose their capacity to about 12,000 BOPD. In the beginning of 2016, VKG conserved the oil plants using Kiviter technology due to the decrease in oil prices. VKG also opened a new power generation complex increasing their electricity production capacity to 95 MW.


Oil data represents Crude Oil only, for extra-heavy oil and oil shale please refer to the WER 2013 report oil chapter.

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