An important step towards the achievement of the goals listed above has been the project of processing of circulation oil, which will help to boost the output capacity, efficiency, and reliability of Petroter oil plants. In addition to the positive trends listed above, the circulation oil project will enable us to enhance the added value of oil shale processing.
One of the challenges in the field of development activities is the provision of oil shale resource both to the plants that process oil shale rock fragments and the ones processing fine oil shale as well as using the existing production capacities in the most efficient way. The management of oil shale production, delivery, and consumption processes must be carried out alongside with the most optimum amount of expenses on logistics and the size of warehouses. The use of conveyor transport within the value chain helps to achieve the goal of reducing expenses on logistics and environmental impact. In 2017, the construction of semi-coke conveyor started in order to transport dangerous waste to the land-fill and reload oil shale from the intermediate storage facility into railway wagons. In addition to a low amount of expenses, the use of conveyor transport improves working environment conditions on the production territory, enhances the efficiency of labour force as well as energy efficiency.
Viru Keemia Grupp is moving in the direction of 4.0 industry, which includes the automation and robotization of production processes. It is clear that it will be hard to remain competitive in the environment of digital industry with old IT and production automation solutions. This is why we are looking for new options for the automation of production and management processes. Viru Keemia Grupp is systematically upgrading the existing IT solutions and implementing new digital solutions related to finance and business management, including the ERP, Business Intelligence (BI) analytics and BigData. The IFS asset management programme is being implemented at the companies of the Group, which helps to enhance the reliability of the equipment, reduce maintenance and repair costs, and ensure good investment decisions.
The solutions for automating industrial processes developed by Viru RMT that are used in everyday operation of Petroter plants, conveyor systems, the operation of fine chemicals and monitoring equipment have enabled us to move in the direction of 4.0 industry. Among the largest clients outside of the Group, Eesti Energia Õlitööstus and Eastman Specialities are definitely worth mentioning.
In connection with changing requirements for the quality of fuel, an important trend is the research of the quality and marketing opportunities of gasoline fractions and shale oil. Proceeding from the expected changes at the market, we are looking for new business opportunities that can be used for enhancing the added value of oil shale products. Such technological solutions as caustic-wash and filtration and distillation, applied in the process of production of gasoline fractions, help to improve the quality of produce significantly. As for shale oils, the goal is to predict the influence related to shale oil marketing, exerted by MARPOL vessel fuel quality requirements at the global sea in 2020.
The changes that have taken place at the global market of fine chemical products show that the production of chemicals is an important development trend with regard to enhancing the added value. The chemical potential of kerogen is constantly worthy of making investments into research and development activities.
We do close cooperation with such educational institutions as Tallinn University of Technology, Virumaa College of Tallinn University of Technology, and Narva College of the University of Tartu. A number of research in the field of oil shale technology, fine chemical products, depositing technologies and environmental research is just a small share of cooperation trends we are following.
An increase in energy efficiency ensures direct connections with heat and electrical systems to new customers. All necessary facilities have been created on the territory of VKG with that purpose in mind: infrastructure, convenient location, safety, connectivity, and heat and power at competitive prices. In 2017, several server farms have seized this opportunity. The immediate vicinity of the power plant enables us to supply server farms with resources that reach tens of megawatt-hours.
We are making contributions into the most innovative development trends, which are based on market demand and future developments. One of such trends is bioenergy and biofuels. We are keeping track of the development process of the new version of the Renewable Energy Directive of the European Union as well the market demand for renewable fuels and the so-called advanced renewable fuels and the formation of the conditions pertaining to raw material.
In the following years, in its development activities, VKG will be focused on the efficiency of production, energy efficiency, quality of products, and ensuring competitiveness. An addition to that, we are contributing into the new developments arising from future development trends, such as fuel, energy and chemical products, as well as the sale of technologies.