After a registration process that took nearly five years, Viru Keemia Grupp (VKG) gained the right to sell its unique oil shale chemistry product Honeyol™ in the US market from July this year. Honeyol™ is used, for instance, in the tyre and leather industries.
“Registering a new chemical product in the US market is a very thorough process the completion of which is a valuable experience for us. While we can produce and market over 40 different chemicals made of oil shale in the European Union, we entered the US market for the first, but hopefully not the last time,” said Kitty Teimann, the project manager responsible for the registration process and the safety of chemicals produced by the Group.
In the US market, Honeyol™ has two major areas of use: the production of gum resins in the tyre industry and the production of glue resins for the timber industry. Honeyol™ is one of the best alternatives for resorcinol which is a very commonly used chemical in the US market and therefore the potential of Honeyol™ is very high there. Several big US clients have showed interest in Honeyol™ from Kohtla-Järve even during the registration process.
“Fine chemistry is a logical extension of our core production and we have systematically developed it since the beginning of the 2000s. We develop oil shale chemistry as a separate branch, because we see its distinct potential and believe in its future sustainability. This year, the demand for oil shale chemistry and phenol products for the first time exceeds the production volume, mainly due to the opening of new sales areas and directions. The opening of the US market is a natural extension of that development,” added Meelis Eldermann, Vice Chairman of the Board and Technical Director of VKG.
VKG is the only company that produces oil shale based fine chemistry products which are used all over the world in the production of liquid crystals and medical products, as components in hair dyes and in fur tanning, and as analytical chemicals. Fine chemicals are synthesised from phenols which are a by-product of shale oil production. The production of fine chemicals with a high added value is a part of circular economy and lengthens the oil production value chain.
The Group produced 1,520 tons of fine chemistry and phenol products last year, mainly sold in foreign markets. In 2019, VKG exported 2.6 million euros worth of oil shale chemistry, which is 18% more than in the preceding year.
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