TALLINN - Estonian energy producer N.R. Energy is exploring options for establishing a bitumen production plant in the small town of Aseri in West-Viru County for the estimated sum of 35 million euros.
N.R. Energy seeks to build the bitumen production plant along with a tank farm in an area spanning ten hectares in the Port of Aseri and create up to 150 new jobs in the Viru-Nigula rural municipality.
N.R. Energy manager Ahto Tisler said that the project is currently in early preparation phase and the company has made first contact with the local government with the purpose of introducing its plans.
"Before we can start digging, we need to get through at least two years of planning, assessment and design processes, thus according to the optimistic plan, the first tons of bitumen will be produced in Aseri in 2025," Tisler said.
The total cost of the project will be specified during the design phase and depends on changes in input prices over the next few years. The biggest provider of funds for the project is N.R. Energy OU.
Einar Vallbaum, elder of the Viru-Nigula rural municipality, said that while new jobs are a welcome addition in the area, the construction of the plant must be precedede by a thorough planning phase during which the environmental impact of the project is assessed and all relevant parties heard.
Tisler noted that N.R. Energy has been mulling the construction of the bitumen plant for 15 years and has throroughly studied the best similar production units and technologies in Europe.
"In our production process based on the internationally highly esteemed Biturox technology, we're using as input heavy oil products, which will be transported to Aseri via rail or by sea. The finished product will be bitumen with various end-uses, which we're planning to sell to the Baltic states for road construction as well as export to international markets," Tisler said.
Global geopolitical decisions have impacted the security of bitumen supply in Estonia to an extent that makes local processing of oil products cost-effective and indispensable for road construction.
Founded in 1997 and based fully on Estonian private capital, N.R. Energy OU supplies thermal energy to 22 district heating network areas across Estonia and sells thermal energy from over 30 unmanned district and local boiler plants.
The company's main customers are apartment buildings, private houses, schools, kindergartens, sports buildings, healthcare institutions, local governments, agencies and companies.