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While answering the question of Valeri Korb at the Riigikogu Question Time, the Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas made a promise to fight for the competitiveness of the Estonian oil shale sector at the climate negotiations of the European Council, and to make every effort to ensure that Estonian oil shale could be used for producing diesel oil.

Rõivas was answering the question of MP Korb on increasing the environmental charge on oil shale. The Prime Minister called it intimidation to claim that a 0.1 % a year increase in the production cost of something would cause the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.

The Prime Minister said that the environmental charge on one ton of oil shale is close to EUR 1.5 and that he did not see it in any way paralysing for a company to increase this by 3 % at a time. The current proposal of the government on increasing environmental charges on oil shale is on average 3–6 % a year, or in the same league with the increase in the general cost of living.

“At the same time, I strongly agree that it would be a massive problem for the Estonian oil shale industry if the price of oil is to plummet, and this is where we cannot do anything to help the oil shale industry,” Rõivas added.

“However, we do have places where we can help the oil shale industry. I am flying to Brussels later today and will fight for the increased competitiveness of the Estonian oil shale industry, for the possibility of producing diesel oil from Estonian oil shale at the climate negotiations in the European Council tomorrow. And I believe that this agreement is achievable in the European Council. In any case, I will work for it,” Rõivas said.

Estonia hopes that oil shale would not be considered more polluting than crude oil at the EU level. In that case, oil shale based diesel would not have a potential on the European internal market, while it is more resource efficient to produce motor fuels, rather than electricity, from oil shale diesel.

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