Estonia - Energy and power

Estonia is the only country in the world that gets most of its energy from oil shale, found in abundance in the northeastern region of the country. About 90% of the annual production is burned to produce electricity at the Estonian Thermal Power Station and the Baltic Thermal Power Station. Oil shale satisfied more than 75% of Estonia's total energy needs as of 2001 but could not meet its total demand for oil, which totaled 25,000 barrels per day. Like the other Baltic states, Estonia is obliged to import oil and natural gas from Russia, and its need for imported energy is likely to rise, as the country is under pressure from the European Union (EU) to reduce its dependence on oil shale for environmental reasons. Production was expected to decline from 12 million tons per year in 2001 to 10.5 million by 2006. A mining law passed in 1994 set up environmental protection requirements for mining as well as providing legislation regarding exploration and extraction. Over 80% of the land disturbed by oil shale mining has been reclaimed. There are no natural gas reserves in Estonia, which relies on imports from Russia. Natural gas consumption, which plummeted from 1.5 billion cu m (53 billion cu ft) in 1992 to 595 million cu m (1.96 billion cu ft) in 1993, had reached 1.1 billion cu m (39 billion cu ft) by 2000.

Electrical generating capacity from the Narva Power Plants (the 1,610 MW Eesti plant and the 1,390 MW Balti plant) meets about 95% of the country's power needs. Total electricity production in 2000 was 7.1 billion kWh, well over the 5.4 billion kWh of electricity consumer that year. Surplus electricity from the two plants is exported to Latvia and the Russian Federation. Total installed capacity in 2001 was 3.2 million kW.

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