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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Estonia, U.S. Make $1M Oil Shale Deal

TALLINN, Estonia -- Estonia and the United States on Friday signed a three-year agreement which could bring in up to $1 million to explore technically and economically feasible ways to process oil shale in the Baltic state.

Solutions to the environmental impact of oil shale processing will also be investigated under the agreement signed in Tallinn by U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and Estonian Economy Minister Mihkel Parnoja.

"Estonia is far more advanced with using oil shale and we [the U.S.] need that expertise. On the basis of this exchange we can ... establish a clean and profitable enterprise in the United States," Richardson said.

U.S. NRG is in the final stages of taking a 49 percent stake in the Narva Power Plants, two oil shale-fired power plants that provide about 95 percent of Estonia's energy.

The deal is slated to be completed by April and requires $220 million in investment over five years.

The Estonian government has already held talks with Suncor, Canada's fourth largest integrated oil company, about establishing an oil shale mining operation in the Baltic nation. The aim of that project was to produce oil products using technology developed by the Canadian firm.