Jordan Oil Shale Project Adds Major Equity Partner

6 May 2016

May 6, 2016 – Attarat Power Company (APCO) announced that its shareholders Eesti Energia (Enefit American Oil’s parent company), YTL Power International Berhad (YTL) and Near East Investment (NEI) have signed an agreement to introduce a new shareholder Yudean Group (Yudean) to the project to develop an oil shale fired 554 MW (gross) power plant and mine in Jordan. Yudean has agreed to purchase 45% of the shares and YTL a further 15% of the shares with Eesti Energia stepping down to 10% and Near East Investments exiting the project. Following the completion of the share transfers which is subject to achieving full financial close APCO will be indirectly owned by Eesti Energia AS of Estonia (10%), YTL Power International Bhd of Malaysia (45%) and Yudean Group of China (45%).


Hando Sutter, Chairman of the Management Board of Eesti Energia: “Estonia has 100 years of experience utilizing oil shale and we are happy that Jordan is about to start utilizing its abundant energy resource. We are one step closer towards establishing Jordan´s first oil shale fired power plant. We now hope to get final approvals for the loan guarantees from Sinosure and Chinese Government in order to finally conclude the financing and proceed with construction.”


Dato´ Yeoh Seok Hong, Executive Director of YTL Power International Berhad: “YTL Power is very pleased to increase our stake to 45% and welcome Yudean to be our partner and jointly lead the development of this milestone project and to support the Jordanian Government in furthering its policy of energy independence. The 554 MW oil shale fired power plant will cover a substantial portion of Jordan´s energy need and reduce the Kingdom´s import of oil products for power generation. The sponsors’ combined extensive experience in power generation and mining will drive this project to fruition, beginning a process for Jordan to achieve cost effective and reliable energy independence.”


Huang Zhenhai, Director and General Manager of Yudean Group: “We are glad to join a project of strategic importance for Jordan that will provide a sustainable, viable and much needed solution to the Kingdom’s current and long term energy challenges.”


Earlier this year APCO signed agreements with Bank of China (BoC) and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) to provide debt funding for the project. The USD 1.6 billion debt financing will be provided on the basis of support by China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure). The sponsors continue working on a number of conditions precedent before full financial close can be achieved, including receiving final approvals for the export credit insurance from Sinosure and the Government of China. The power plant is scheduled to start generating electricity for local consumption in 2019.


Pictures of the signing are here.


Notes to the Editor:

Attarat Power Company (APCO) is developing a nominal 554MW (gross) oil shale fired power generation project. It has signed a 30-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the National Electric Power Company (NEPCO), the Jordan state-owned utility, for the entire electrical capacity and enrergy of the power plant, with an attractive option for NEPCO to extend the PPA to 40 years. In 2013, Guangdong Power Engineering Corporation was selected to lead the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of the 554MW (gross) mine mouth oil shale fired power plant under a fixed price turnkey contract. Foster Wheeler will provide the circulating fluidised bed boiler island, Siemens on the steam turbine generator and Worley Parsons on the plant design. The plant will be based at the Attarat um Ghudran oil shale deposit approximately 100km south east of Amman.


YTL Power International Berhad (YTLPI) is listed on Bursa Malaysia. YTLPI owns and operates some 5,100MW of gas, oil and coal-fired power generation plants in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia and is an active trader of oil products in the Singapore market where it has approximately 1 million m3 of storage capacity. YTLPI also owns 100% of Wessex Water Services Limited, a water and sewerage services company that serves the south west of England in the UK and a one-third stake in ElectraNet Pty. Ltd.. which owns and operates the electricity transmission network in South Australia.


Yudean is a Chinese state-owned utility which owns and operates over 29,000 MW of power generation capacity with ca. 13,000 employees. Yudean is an experienced independent power producer (IPP) and has significant coal mining operations both in China and Australia. Yudean is owned by Guangdong Province (76%) and China Huaneng Group (24%).


Eesti Energia is an international energy company that operates in the unified electricity market of the Baltic and Nordic countries. Its sole shareholder is the Republic of Estonia. Eesti Energia owns and operates some 2,000MW of direct oil shale fired mine-mouth power generation capacity and supplies electricity to some 450,000 customers. Eesti Energia is also one of the largest producers of (kerogen) shale oil in the world and has been engaged in oil shale processing for 35 years. More than 1 billion tons of oil shale has been mined, over 200 million barrels of oil have been produced and more than 600TWh of electricity has been produced from oil shale in Estonia to date.

Utah Ranks Among Top 10 Mining Regions in the World

27 Apr 2016

Utah ranks ninth out of the top 10 in the list of the world’s best investment regions for mining, according to an annual survey of 449 mining executives released by the Fraser Institute – an independent, non-partisan Canadian policy think tank.


The Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies, 2015, rates 109 jurisdictions around the world, based on their geologic attractiveness and how much government policies encourage exploration and investment.


Nevada and Alaska were the only other U.S. states to make the top 10.


Read the Utah Mine Association’s April 2016 Newsletter for more info

Estonia is hosting an International Symposium, “Oil Shale 100,” to celebrate 100 years of oil shale mining

22 Apr 2016

Foto 262From September 20 – 23, Estonia will be hosting an International Symposium, “Oil Shale 100.” The symposium will connect resource holders, technology developers, researchers, government representatives and business leaders from across the world to celebrate a momentous anniversary in oil shale development – 100 years of oil shale mining in Estonia. The event is organized under the leadership of the world´s leading oil shale energy company Eesti Energia, Tallinn University of Technology, and the University of Tartu.


According to Hando Sutter, Chairman of the Management Board of Eesti Energia, the symposium will offer unique opportunities to hear about the latest innovations and technology updates, increases in efficiency and applications to reduce environmental impacts.


“Estonia is living proof that the oil shale industry can be viable long-term and has remained so throughout the last century. Estonia is the largest oil shale processor in the world, and we have proven technologies for producing both electricity and oil. In addition to developing the world´s largest oil shale industry in Estonia, we are able to export our unique know-how to other resource holding countries,” Hando Sutter noted.



According to Professor Volli Kalm, Rector of the University of Tartu, this is a milestone year for Estonia’s oil shale industry. It marks 100 years since oil shale mining began and for oil shale being the subject of scientifically based research. “Scientific research on oil shale, carried out with the help of Estonian universities, enables the Government to make well-informed decisions so that, through job creation and promotion of innovation in the energy sector, our society can continue to benefit from oil shale in the future,” Kalm said.


“When it comes to Estonian research and technology, oil shale science is indisputably world-class. A discussion of the field’s global future presents a big challenge and opportunity for all our researchers and engineers,” observed Jaak Aaviksoo, academician and Rector of the Tallinn University of Technology.



The first oil shale conference was held in Estonia in 1968 at the Tallinn University of Technology. Most recently, Estonia hosted an international oil shale symposium in 2013 with 400 industry professionals from 33 countries attending.


The symposium´s panel sessions will be held in Tallinn at Kultuurikatel (Tallinn Creative Hub) on September 20 and 21. A field trip will offer an opportunity to visit industrial-scale oil shale facilities – the 300 MW Auvere Power Plant, and the Enefit280, a combined shale oil, gas, and electricity cogeneration plant, as well as an operational open cast mine. The symposium is being organized in collaboration with the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, the Estonian Ministry of the Environment, and the Estonian National Committee of the World Energy Council.
Additional information and submission of abstracts:

Enefit American Oil Welcomes Release of BLM DEIS to Allow Utility Corridor Across Federal Land to Serve Company’s Energy Project

7 Apr 2016

BLM Opens Comment Period and Schedules Three Open Houses in Early May



SALT LAKE CITY – Enefit American Oil (EAO) is pleased that, after more than three years of work, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will release on Friday a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on potential effects of a utility corridor to serve the company’s planned oil shale project in eastern Utah’s Uintah Basin.


While EAO’s energy project would be developed on private property the company owns, utilities to serve it must cross federal land, which requires an environmental review process. Uses for the utility corridor include water and natural gas supply lines, 138-kilovolt electricity lines, road improvements, and an oil product pipeline.


“We have worked closely and cooperated fully with the BLM and other federal, state and local agencies since the environmental review process began in late 2012,” said EAO CEO Rikki Hrenko-Browning. “Many issues and concerns were identified during the process, and we believe they have been sufficiently addressed to advance approval of the ‘Proposed Action’ to allow the utility corridor.”


The BLM has announced that it will accept emailed public comments about the DEIS and Proposed Action through June 14, 2016, at Three open houses have been scheduled for the public to learn about the environmental document and ask questions of the BLM’s review team. Meetings will be held May 3 in Vernal, Utah, May 4 in Rangely, Colorado, and May 5 in Salt Lake City. Once the Notice of Availability is published in the Federal Register on Friday, the DEIS may be viewed at  



Responding to critics


“We’re aware that many advocacy groups have made, and no doubt will continue to make, comments challenging the need for our project and making allegations about it that are simply not true,” Hrenko-Browning said. “Given that the environmental document, which will be voluminous, won’t be published until Friday, meaning neither EAO nor the dissenters have yet seen the analysis, we encourage people to review it closely before making conclusions.”


“It’s also important to remember,” Hrenko-Browning added, “that some groups want to confuse the issue by trying to connect development of the entire project to the utility corridor analysis, while in reality the agency’s decision applies only to the 15 or so miles of BLM land that utilities will cross.”


Myth vs Reality


Other myths about EAO’s oil shale project that are often repeated by opponents include claims that producing energy from oil shale is not viable, that the production process will use extravagant amounts of water, that EAO’s project is subsidized by the government, and that more energy is used to produce oil from oil shale than the resulting oil provides. All of these assertions are false:


  • Viability: EAO’s parent company is the world’s largest producer of oil and electricity from oil shale. In its home country of Estonia, the firm has a 100-year track record of producing electricity and steam heat from oil shale and has produced liquid fuels from mined oil shale for more than 30 years. The largest company in the Baltic nation, it supplies 90 percent of the country’s power. In addition, viable oil shale industries exist in Brazil and China and are being developed in other countries, including Jordan.
  • Water use: “We are very sensitive to the fact that water is an extremely precious resource in Utah’s arid environment,” Hrenko-Browning said. “That’s why we’re committed to designing the project to be a ‘zero liquid discharge’ facility, meaning that all wastewater will be captured and reused on site.


“What’s more, no water is used in the raw oil production process itself, but will primarily be needed for dust suppression in the mining operation, as is normal for similar projects. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that a 50,000 barrel-per-day oil shale plant – the potential size of EAO’s project if fully developed – would use about 4,000 acre-feet of water per year. That’s about the same amount of water needed to grow 2,000 acres of alfalfa. With that amount of water, EAO could meet one-third of Utah’s current annual liquid fuel demand – an impressive and beneficial use of our water resources.”


  • Subsidies: While oil shale projects in the 1970s and ‘80s were subsidized by the U.S. military, those programs no longer exist and EAO’s project is in no way subsidized by government. Nor are the company’s Estonian operations. In fact, the opposite is true: Enefit pays an annual royalty to the Estonian government; in 2015, this amount was 62 million euros (approximately US$68 million).


“The BLM’s involvement in preparing an Environmental Impact Statement does not imply any kind of government endorsement either, as some have suggested,” said Hrenko-Browning. “The government is required to conduct an environmental analysis when a request is made by a private company or other organization that could potentially affect federal property.”


  • Energy yield. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Petroleum Reserves estimates that oil from surface-mined oil shale can return 10 times or more energy than is used to produce it. That’s similar to the 10.5 average energy return for conventional petroleum. In comparison, producing ethanol from corn actually uses more energy than it returns.


“While EAO supports the federal government’s ‘all of the above’ energy policy,” Hrenko-Browning said, “even renewables such as solar and wind have environmental impacts and are entirely dependent on the mining industry to support the vital components that make these renewables possible. There is no magic bullet solution to the energy needs that support our daily activities and the high quality of life that we all enjoy.”


EAO’s environmental commitment


In addition to progress on the EIS, EAO has participated in a Conservation Agreement recently signed by a wide range of federal, state and local agencies to conserve two sensitive penstemon plants and prevent an endangered species listing. EAO voluntarily set aside more than 1,600 acres of its private property for a penstemon conservation area and is supporting plant surveys and transplantation efforts that are already showing dramatic success.


“Enefit American Oil is well qualified to contribute to Utah’s energy security, create long-term jobs, and help meet community goals,” Hrenko-Browning noted. “Our 30-year track record of producing liquid fuels in an environmentally responsible and economically viable manner demonstrate our commitment to environmental stewardship and desire to work together with our community to develop this project in the most responsible manner possible.”


Visit for more information about the company and its Utah Project.

Open Houses Set for Public to Review, Comment on Utility Corridor DEIS for Enefit’s Utah Project

7 Apr 2016

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will host three open houses in Vernal, Rangely and Salt Lake City to allow the public an opportunity to review and comment on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a utility corridor needed to serve Enefit American Oil (EAO)’s Utah oil shale project. The DEIS document will be printed in the Federal Register on Friday, April 8, and can be viewed on the BLM’s project web page at once it is published.


The meetings will be held at:


  • Uintah County Library, 204 E. 100 North, Vernal, Utah, on Tuesday, May 3, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.;
  • Western Rio Blanco Recreation and Park District, 611 S. Stanolind Avenue, Rangely, Colorado, on Wednesday, May 4, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.;
  • Hilton Garden Inn, 4975 Wiley Post Way, Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday, May 5, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The majority of EAO’s proposed project activities are located on private land (including mining, retorting, and upgrading operations). However, EAO requires a right-of-way from the BLM for a utility corridor across federal land. This corridor will house overhead electric transmission lines, buried water and natural gas supply pipelines, a buried product delivery pipeline, and improvement of an existing, unpaved county road.

EAO applied for a right-of-way grant from the BLM in November 2012, and the release of the DEIS represents an important milestone in the company’s project development. The BLM’s DEIS describes potential impacts to the human and natural environment associated with the utility corridor.


Utilities Corridor


Attend the Meetings, Send in Comments of Support

2Supporters of Enefit’s Utah Project are encouraged to attend one of the public meetings to express support. You may also send comments to the BLM at no later than June 14, 2016.

To be most effective, comments in support of the BLM’s “Proposed Action” – granting of a right-of-way across federal land – should be as specific as possible and demonstrate how the corridor complies with or complements existing local, state and federal plans and policies. Here are some reasons why we believe the Proposed Action should be approved and the “No Action” alternative should not be selected:


  • The Proposed Action will minimize large truck traffic on local roads by providing important connections to regional utilities, which in turn will prevent harmful tailpipe emissions and reduce the potential for severe transportation-related accidents in our community;
  • The Proposed Action will reduce fugitive dust and improve visibility and safety by paving a section of county road that is currently gravel;
  • The Proposed Action will not be harmful to wildlife or natural areas thanks to Enefit’s commitment to responsible management and restoration of the right-of-way;
  • The Proposed Action avoids and minimizes impacts to sensitive resources thanks to Enefit’s efforts in engineering a “minimal footprint” corridor, such that the environmental quality of these federal lands will continue to have value for present and future generations; and
  • The Proposed Action meets the BLM’s responsibility of multiple use and sustained yield of federal lands under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, providing an important economic return on the use of those lands.


Reasons why Enefit believes the BLM should not select the No Action alternative:

  • The No Action alternative would result in significant increases in large truck traffic for transport of Enefit’s products, increasing harmful tailpipe emissions and transportation safety hazards in our community;
  • The No Action alternative has the potential to further “strand” valuable natural resources, in a market where they are already considered stranded, with no measureable benefit to the public or local community; and
  • The No Action alternative is not consistent with the BLM’s land use management responsibilities and objectives and would generate no return to federal government through responsible use of federal lands.

4In addition, supporters may want to reference that the majority of the world’s oil shale reserves are in our backyard, how Enefit has worked proactively and positively with the community, why it is important to create sustainable jobs for people in the Uintah Basin, and how the project is consistent with specific economic development and land use plans, such as the BLM’s Vernal Resource Management Plan, the Federal Land Use Policy and Management Act, the State of Utah Governor’s energy policy, the Penstemon Conservation Agreement, and the Uintah County General Plan.

Enefit American Oil is uniquely qualified to contribute to Utah’s energy security and create long-term jobs that will help our community grow and keep families closer together. With a 30-year track record of producing liquid fuels in an environmentally responsible and economically viable manner, Enefit’s vision is consistent with our community goals and long-range planning efforts. Enefit staff have shown their commitment to environmental stewardship and desire to work together with our community to develop this project in the most responsible manner possible.


Millcreek Mining hired to study “reserve” status for Enefit’s oil shale resource

29 Feb 2016

Enefit American Oil (EAO) has hired Millcreek Mining to conduct an assessment of whether the Utah Project’s known oil shale resources and the associated project design and engineering can be validated as “Reserves,” which would increase the Project’s value.


Classifying mineral deposits as “Reserves,” rather than simply “Resources,” means that they have been validated as bankable assets and can be listed on the company’s books.


To the best of EAO’s knowledge, the Project would be the first oil-shale-to-shale-oil project in the world to qualify as a reserve. EAO’s parent company has successfully received a Reserve Statement for its Jordanian oil shale-to-electricity project, and in 2012 its Estonian oil shale deposits were classified as reserves.


The Utah Project is somewhat unique with regard to the reporting standards for reserves as it is contemplated primarily as a mining, material handling, and ore processing operation with the end product being oil and other hydrocarbon-based streams, rather than a more traditional metal or aggregate mining product.


The resulting reserve report is anticipated to be used for raising private equity for the Project and/or to inform valuation as part of a future financial transaction.

EAO extracts two new oil shale core samples for continued test work

29 Feb 2016

Enefit American Oil recently began an important new geologic research program on its Enefit South private property, about 45 minutes southeast of Vernal, Utah, near the Colorado border.


Working together with Himes Drilling Company and Norwest Corporation, EAO extracted two new oil shale core samples in late 2015 from the company’s bulk research site (known as ‘the box cut’) for additional test work.


The core samples will undergo laboratory analysis for oil shale grade, mineralogy and other characteristics that are key to helping EAO better model design alternatives for the Utah project. This new dataset will help inform mine planning and engineering as EAO continues to move the Utah Project forward.


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Energy Companies Worldwide Retrench in Wake of Low Oil Prices; Enefit Also Cuts Back, But Remains Committed to Utah Oil Shale Project

25 Feb 2016

Crude oil prices hovering at around $30 a barrel continue to bedevil the world’s oil producers, leading to dramatic cuts in investment by companies large and small. The Financial Times reported Feb. 14, 2016, that about $400 billion in expected oil development projects worldwide have been canceled or delayed due to low prices, and many companies are also slashing dividends.


What’s more, Morgan Stanley analysts predict that only nine large projects globally, out of more than 230 awaiting a green light, are “realistic candidates” for approval this year. Several of the industry’s majors, including Total of France, say they won’t be approving any new projects at all in 2016.


It’s definitely a time of retrenching in the energy industry. Shell alone, for example, announced an $8 billion write-down last October. Chesapeake Energy posted a $15 billion loss for 2015; Apache Corp., another large oil and gas company, announced a $23 billion loss.


Enefit is experiencing these economic realities as well. The Estonia-based company wrote down the book value of several of its investments in Europe and the U.S. Enefit’s financial adjustment of 66 million euros (approximately $72.7 million, of which $28.7 million applies to the Utah Project) pales in comparison to the tens of billions of dollars written down by the energy industry’s major producers.


Enefit Continues to Pay Dividends & is Committed to Utah Project


Despite the financial adjustment and industry downturn, Enefit has continued to pay a significant annual dividend to its owner, the Estonian government. In 2015, Enefit paid the government a dividend of 62 million euros (approximately $68 million). Estonia’s largest employer, Enefit also paid the government 65 million euros ($71.7 million) in labor taxes and excise duties, 28 million ($30.8 million) in resource charges, and 30 million ($33 million) in environmental taxes.


Despite the write-downs and other belt-tightening moves, Enefit leadership remains committed to the Utah Project, says Enefit CEO Hando Sutter. “We will continue our work to seek environmental approval for a utility corridor over federal land to serve the Project, to adjust our engineering processes to be as efficient and cost-effective as possible for the Utah resource, and to move forward with other activities that will maintain and add value to the Project.”


Recent activities at the Project site include a new geologic research program to extract new oil shale core samples for additional test work. This is part of ongoing work to help fine-tune the engineering of Enefit’s oil-production process and evaluate alternative mining horizons.


Enefit will also soon begin an assessment of whether the Utah’s Project’s known oil shale resources can be validated as “reserves,” which would increase the Project’s value. It’s anticipated that the resulting reserve report could be used to help raise private equity investment and/or to inform valuation as part of other potential future financial transactions.


Finally, after a few months of delay, Enefit is pleased that the Bureau of Land Management will soon release a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on establishing a corridor across federal land to accommodate the extension of utilities to Enefit’s project site. The BLM will receive and respond to public comment on the DEIS before releasing a Final EIS and decision about whether to allow the utility corridor later this year.


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Utahns View Mining Positively, Citing Economic Value and Jobs

25 Feb 2016

copper mine

The overall public perception of mining among Utah residents is very positive, according to a new online and telephone opinion survey conducted by the Utah Mining Association.


Nearly 90 percent of Utahns 18 and older – who say they have no connection to the mining industry – reported having a favorable view of mining. Utahns say they value mining because it delivers necessary resources, is good for the local economy, and provides good-paying jobs.


Last year Utah’s 291 mining operations directly employed 16,450 people and indirectly supported an additional 33,390 jobs statewide. The industry accounts for 4.59 percent of the state’s GDP, and Utah mining operations create over $2.9 billion worth of mineral, metal and fuel products.


The Utah Mining Association survey also reported that respondents believe mining to have a great deal of influence in their daily lives, seeing value not only in its economic impact but in the many ways that products mined in Utah are used in the products they use daily including jewelry, electronics, toys, money, plumbing fixtures and wires.

minerals maps


Most survey participants could only name four locally mined minerals – copper (Utah’s state mineral), coal, gold, and silver – although more than 25 different minerals are mined throughout Utah. Twenty-four of the state’s 29 counties have at least one mine. Lesser-known products mined in Utah include lead, zinc, oil shale, gilsonite, phosphate, aluminum, lime, salt, and potash.


The survey also found that, while people are aware that coal is mined in Utah and is used in power generation, only 33 percent of responders were aware that Utah coal accounts for 76 percent of our current electricity generation.


So, while Utahns are aware of and very supportive of mining operations in Utah, they are less aware of the variety of materials mined here and the scale at which some of these materials benefit them and allow for the high quality of life we all enjoy. Education and communications to improve Utahns’ connection between mining and its role in their day-to-day lives will be a key effort of UMA in 2016 and beyond – an effort strongly supported by Enefit.



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Enefit’s Auvere Power Plant Produces Electricity for First Time

15 Jun 2015


Not far from the oil shale mines visited by the visitors from Caterpillar is the Auvere Power Plant. In the final stages of construction, the plant was connected to the electrical power network earlier this month, and electricity produced at the plant reached the grid for the first time. Testing and setting-up at the plant continue. The modern 300MW circulating fluidized bed (CFB) Auvere Power Plant will be completed by the end of this year.
“Connection to the network is confirmation that all systems at Auvere Power Plant are working. But there is still meticulous work ahead of us to reach stable production at the new plant,” said Raine Pajo, Member of the Management Board of Enefit.Compared to power plants running on pulverized combustion technology, this plant, operating on fluidized-bed technology, is more environmentally friendly and features more efficient production. For fuel, the plant will use oil shale, which is up to 50 percent replaceable with biofuel.

Auvere Power Plant is being built by a consortium of companies led by Alstom under a turnkey construction contract. Companies in the Enefit Group have also contributed toward the completion of the new power plant. For example, Enefit Technology Industries built a system for delivering oil shale and biofuel for the plant (designed in collaboration with Enefit Mining), and an ash removal system.