August 2004

The European Union acknowledged Estonian oil shale chemicals

As the result of almost two years work of Estonian oil shale chemical enterprises and agencies the European Union acknowledged 9 chemicals, giving them the register numbers of the list of new substances of EU ELINCS and consequently permitting them to be bought and sold legally on the territory of EU.

The legislation in force has given an unequal competition advantage to the old enterprises of European chemical industry in relation to the industries of joining countries. “In EU are automatically permitted and acknowledged all such chemicals that were produced on the EU territory in the years 1971-1981. As Estonia was not a member of EU in this period then in their concept these chemicals did not exist before they were tested and information was given about them according to the requirements,” explained the VKG Development Director Jaanus Purga.

At the leadership of the Union of Estonian Chemical Industry and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and assistance of the Ministry of Finance, Social Affairs and Foreign Affairs a project with a budget of about 25 million kroons was initiated in the autumn of 2002 in order to legalise oil shale chemicals in the European Union. The project was financed within the range of 75 % from the means of Phare programme, the remaining part of the expenses were borne by the Estonian state and chemical enterprises. Viru Keemia Grupp Ltd. as the biggest oil shale chemistry enterprise bore over 4 million kroons additional expenses in connection with the project.

“From the viewpoint of Estonian chemical industry the registration of oil shale chemicals is a positive example of good and productive co-operation between Estonian agencies and enterprises at the adaptation of unfair limitations, based on bureaucracy,” noted the Chairman of the VKG Management Board Janek Parkman.

In the course of the project the possible impact of the so-called new chemicals on human health and environment was studied – the impact of Estonian oil shale chemicals has been tested within the last year in England on bacteria, seaweeds, fish, rats and rabbits, their physical-chemical properties and biological decomposition ability and mutagentiy were studied. The received results show that there are several spheres where the oil shale chemicals have an advantage namely from the point of view of safety, as compared to the chemicals, made on the basis of naphtha or synthetic chemicals.

The responsible leader of the project was the Union of Estonian Chemical Industries, co-ordinator on the side of the state was EAS, the enterprise that carried out the experiments and tests was SafePharm Laboratories Ltd. from England, chosen with an international procurement and a competent state authority in the process that led to acknowledging the chemicals, was the Estonian Information Centre of Chemicals.

Although the oil shale chemicals have been officially recognized for today, the physical-chemical experiments and the experiments in the fields of toxicology and ecotoxicology go on in England till the end of this year.

In Estonia various oil shale chemistry products have been produced in industrial amount since the year 1924. During this time millions of tons of oil shale fuels and oil shale chemistry products with various purposes have been produced.

For more information contact:

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