Considering all the oil production capacities, VKG’s need for oil shale is a total of 4.1 tons of the geological resource a year, i.e. 5.1 million tons of commercial shale. The mining permits issued to VKG allow the extraction of 2.77 million tons of the geological resource at the Ojamaa Mine, (3.5 million tons of commercial oil shale) and if other market participants do not extract their allowed volume in the full extent, the extraction volumes at the Ojamaa Mine can be increased to 3.5 million tons (4.35 million tons of commercial shale) through the retrospective extraction mechanism. This means that in order to purchase the missing 750,000 tons (15%) of commercial shale, VKG has to reach agreements with other market participants.
Cooperation with Kiviõli Keemiatööstus in purchasing oil shale continued in 2021. During the year, we did not succeed in restoring Eesti Energia’s oil shale concentrate purchase contract that had been suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis. Referring to the ongoing court dispute about an earlier unfairly priced oil shale sale contract, Eesti Energia did not wish to make a new price offer before the final ruling is clear. Due to this, one of the three Kiviter plants was shut down for the entire year due to a lack of oil shale.
Considering VKG’s extraction volumes and assessing the various restrictions and extensions of the Ojamaa Mine, we concluded that the Ojamaa resource will probably be exhausted about 2 years sooner than previously thought, i.e. in 2028. This means that in order to ensure a sufficient oil shale supply upon the exhaustion of the Ojamaa resource, VKG has to start investing into opening the Uus-Kiviõli Mine in 2022. From the viewpoint of environmental sustainability, issuing the Uus-Kiviõli mining permit to VKG was the only right solution, as the said mining field is logistically at the best possible location in terms of VKG’s oil shale processing units in Kohtla-Järve and allows the maximum use of the existing infrastructure. The oil shale enrichment plant at the Ojamaa Mine will be able to ensure the processing of the production from the new mining field and there is no need to perform additional aboveground construction works and disturb the nature. The Uus-Kiviõli Mine should ensure a supply of oil shale for the Group until 2038.