Oil plant cost to skyrocket by dozens of millions


PHOTO: Peeter Langovits

Outotec, co-owner of new Enefit280 oil plant technology in Auvere, asks Eesti Energia for €28m for extra construction work.

Neither participant in energy project delayed by technological glitches desired to explain the claim contained in Eesti Energia 2013 report.

«The project is going on. We have not initiated formal procedures against Eesti Energia, and therefore we are not in a situation where we may provide more information regarding that,» said Minna Aila, senior vice-president at Outotec.

Andreas Orth, responsible for completion of the plant in Outotec branch in Germany, admitted that the enterprise hasn’t still been able to solve problems leading to burning of bag filters in the device. «Dust and ashes just bottlenecked,» said Mr Orth. «The parts needed to solve the problem have been ordered, and we are hoping to launch the plant at the end of the summer, or in the autumn the latest.»

In Eesti Energia, it was affirmed that the Outotec claim is nothing extraordinary, as all major construction projects for the energy company usually end by mutual claims presented, and settlement of accounts.

«We have agreed with Outotec that we will discuss mutual claims as the plant has been adjusted; as, at the moment, our entire attention is on achieving a stable working regime at the plant,» explained Eesti Energia press representative Eliis Vennik. «The claim dating from 2012 as the plant was completed, we will review it after stable functioning has been achieved.»

As assured by Ms Vennik, the claim by Outotec does not reflect additional work adjusting the plant neither the replacement of assemblies, these being covered under warranty.  

Estonians gave 40 percent of the unique oil shale technology to the Finnish Outotec, assuming the international company could set the plant up successfully. Even so, the oil plant – festively opened two years ago and costing €206m – has only been able to function at 85 percent capacity, for a short while.

Last year, news came out about a fire at the oil plant, which Eesti Energia initially tried to hide – bag filters set aflame by hot ash. In the fire, three of four sections of the filter were substantially damaged; even so, all filter elements and supportive structures had to be replaced, 960 all in all. Restoration after the fire cost close to €250,000.

According to Eesti Energia’s oil production chief  Igor Kond, work is underway to stabilise production at the plant. «By today, we have clarified the weak spots in the process, and we are continuing our efforts to have the plant function in a stable manner,» said Mr Kond, in a press release at the beginning of March.