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Environment

Environmentally sound

Preserving the environment for current and future generations is important to Enefit and thanks to recent advancements in extraction and production technologies, oil shale has significally lowered environmental impacts.

Minimal land disturbance
Advances in technology ensure that all the energy from the rock can be extracted leaving behind only the inert unhazardous ash in its place, which in turn can be used in road construction and in the cement industry as a valuable component material. Furthermore, all the depleted open pit mining areas can be recultivated continuously as one organic part of the mining process. Recultivation is done in cooperation with the local community to get the best use out of the depleted areas in the future.

Higher energy efficiency
Advances in technology have also resulted in higher energy efficiency in both oil shale power generation and shale oil production. Oil shale retorting does not require external source of power, which leads to lower CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the excess heat generated in the retorting process can be used to produce electricity, thereby offsetting the CO2 emissions usually generated from power plants.

Low water use
New technologies also utilise extremely water efficient processes, whereby the oil pyrolysis process is essentially water free. In Jordan most of the necessary water input comes from brackish water - which is not suitable for human consumption without costly water treatment. Brackish water is used for dust suppression in mining, ash disposal and upgrading shale oil into refined synthetic fuels. Much effort is also put into wastewater treatment and reuse. For the power generation air cooled condensers will be used to minimize the water consumption for cooling.

Internationally accepted standards
In Jordan, as part of the concession agreements signed with the government, oil shale developers are required to adhere to stringent environmental regulations based on internationally accepted standards such as World Bank Standards and International Finance Corporation Standards. Furthermore, all developers are required to conduct a full environmental and social impact assessment, covering a wide range of factors and addressing any adverse effects, in collaboration with the local community and authorities.

Reclaiming the environment

A wealth of experience in mine remediation
In Estonia where oil shale has been mined for nearly a 100 years and oil shale electricity contributes to over 90% of the country's power consumption, it is said that the oil shale business starts and ends with mining. A key step in the mining process is the restoration and rehabilitation of mining areas.

Reclaimed areas in Estonia

Full lifecycle management
To ensure minimal environmental impact, responsible oil shale developers like Enefit adopt full lifecycle management for their operations. This guarantees that already during mining activities and even after project closure, extreme care is taken to maintain the surrounding environment in its original state or to restore to the greatest extent possible.