Hot commissioning in Enefit280 shale oil plant in Estonia has started

On Thursday, Enefit started the first hot commissioning of Enefit280 shale oil plant in Auvere, Estonia. If the start-up process goes according to the plan, the first shale oil from the new plant is expected in September.

"The start-up of this new generation of oil shale technology is a challenging process, and every aspect can have a great impact," stressed Enefit280 Project Manager Priit Ploompuu. "We have a detailed start-up plan and an experienced team. So far, everything has gone according to plan with no complications," he assured.

During this hot commissioning period, the plant will systematically be brought to production mode. The process begins by drying and curing the plant's refractory lining with flue gases and the heat recovery system is cleaned with steam. Oil shale then will be introduced slowly to a circulating fluidized bed boiler, or CFB (a combustion method commonly used in coal-fired power plants). This creates ash, which acts as a heat carrier for the process. The ash and oil shale particles mix in a rotating drum, creating oil gases, which are then condensed into liquid oil. The goal of the last phase of the hot commissioning is to ramp up the plant's capacity to its design capacity.

The start-up team consists of engineers from Enefit, international engineering company Outotec, Enefit Outotec Technology and will be supported by the vendors.

In spring 2010, Enefit started the construction of the first Enefit280 shale oil plant that uses the new generation technology. The construction phase lasted for two years. Today, almost 182 million euros has been invested in the construction of the new shale oil plant in Estonia.

The Enefit280 plant will significantly add to Enefit's oil production capabilities, producing approximately 2 million barrels of oil and 75 million cubic meters of retort gas per year. An integrated 35 megawatt steam-driven turbine uses residual heat to generate electricity to run the plant. The new plant will employ 80 people, including experienced experts from Enefit Oil & Gas and newly recruited and specially trained workers.

The new technology based Enefit280 plant uses environmentally friendly, reliable and efficient technology, developed jointly by Enefit and the international engineering company Outotec.

By 2016 Enefit is planning to develop a complex for producing liquid fuels from shale oil. Liquid fuels that are produced this way will have higher quality than the current shale oil, and it will be meeting all today's motor fuel standards. While having this in mind, the company plans to establish two more Enefit280 shale oil plants and a post-processing plant to upgrade the oil. All together, the extended production of liquid fuels would employ almost half a thousand people and would cover Estonia's consumption of liquid oils.


Annually, Enefit Oil & Gas uses two Enefit140 units to produce more than 1 million barrels of various oil products in Estonia. About 60 per cent of the output is exported and used as liquid fuel components. Local consumers use shale oil predominantly in boiler plants and small power plants to produce heat and power, as well as in agriculture and road construction.

Enefit is developing shale oil projects in Jordan and USA.

Enefit has two development projects in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: an oil project for establishing a shale oil plant with around 38,000 barrels of daily output, and a power project for establishing an oil shale fired power plant with a capacity of up to 460 MW. Enefit's role is to develop and implement the projects and supply the Enefit technology for shale oil production plants. Enefit is developing a part of the deposit named Attarat Um Ghudran, which is the largest of the Jordan oil shale deposits discovered so far. The research area contains an estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of oil shale. On 29 June 2012 a tender was launched for engineering, procurement and construction of the power plant. The oil project is currently in the geological exploration and studies stage.

Both of the Jordan projects are developed in a partnership with a Malaysian corporation YTL Power International Berhad and a local Jordan company Near East Investment Company.

Enefit´s oil shale reserves in Uintah County, in the State of Utah, are estimated to the amount of 3.1 billion tonnes, with a quantity of oil contained in such reserves estimated at 2.1 billion barrels. On the basis of those oil shale reserves, Enefit intends to develop an integrated oil shale industry with a daily capacity of up to 50,000 barrels where the Enefit technology, which is developed and implemented in Estonia, will be used.

The licensing and development of the Enefit oil shale technology is carried out by the Enefit Outotec joint venture, Enefit Outotec Technology (EOT), based in Frankfurt Germany.

Eliis Vennik
Eesti Energia
Press Officer
715 12 18
57 830 756