May 2004

The Day of the Chemical Industry opens 80th anniversary celebrations of the shale oil industry in Kohtla-Järve

The Day of the Chemical Industry that is held on May 29 is the single most important celebration of the year for people working in the oil shale chemical industry. In 2004 it coincides with the celebration of 80 years from the beginning of industrial production of shale oil in Kohtla-Järve.

Companies such as Viru Keemia Grupp AS, AS Nitrofert, Velsicol Eesti AS, Fortum Termest AS, AS Remeksi Keskus and Novotrade Invest AS organised a party for practically all residents of Kohtla-Järve. It is the fourth year that the region’s largest chemical industries celebrated the day together.

The festivities began at noon by opening a monument in front of the production building of VKG dedicated to shale oil production in Estonia. The monument is a restored rail tank car manufactured in 1936 in the German plant of Orenstein&Koppel that was equipped specifically for the transport of shale oil. Standing side by side with the modern production plant of VKG, it is a symbol for the long traditions of shale oil industry in Estonia. The tank car was restored by the specialists of the Estonian Museum Railway who were contracted by VKG and is the only such tank car that has preserved in Estonia. The monument was opened by Janek Parkman, Chairman of the Management Board of VKG. Speeches were held by Yevgeni Solovjov, Mayor of Kohtla-Järve, and Jüri Soone, Head of the Institute of Oil Shale Research of the Tallinn University of Technology.

Festivities continued on the territory of the Kohtla-Järve Culture House with a concert by some of Estonia’s best-known and local artists. Performers were chosen by keeping in mind the preferences of both Estonian-speakers and Russian-speakers. The programme lasted from noon until late night and featured artists and bands such as De Luxe, BeFree, Idealnie Lyudi, Tuberkuloited and Marju Länik. The final performer was the rock group Terminaator.

The sports programme offered in the nearby area provided an opportunity to cheer for football and street basketball tournaments. The companies competed in rope pulling and lifting of weights. The town of Kohtla-Järve and the management of VKG met in a friendly match in the new exciting sport known as sumo football.
There was also a special programme for children which included a performance by the Tuuleveski (Windmill) theatre and a traditional family contest which had a bicycle as the main prize. Children were able to ride Icelandic horses, jump on trampolines and take part in many other exciting things.
The celebration culminated with massive fireworks at 11.30 pm. The festivities attracted more than 3,500 people this year, which is a new record for participants in the festivities of the Day of the Chemical Industry in recent years.

For more information contact:

Elina Kink
Public Relations Manager
GSM 523 2700
E-mail: elina.kink(at)

A photo of the rail tank car that carried shale oil in Kohtla-Järve in the 1920s and was restored by the Estonian Museum Railway in 2004.