April 27, 2010 / 3:39 PM / in 9 years

Estonian firm to explore for Moroccan oil shale

An oil rig prepares to drill in western Uganda, near the shores of Lake Albert, June 15, 2007. REUTERS/Tim Cocks

TALLINN (Reuters) - Estonian energy company Eesti Energia said on Tuesday it had signed a deal to explore oil shale deposits in Morocco and hopes to develop them.

Estonia is heavily dependent on oil shale for energy and its state-owned energy firm is seeking to branch out to other countries to use its oil shale expertise.

“Morocco is home to some of the world’s largest oil shale deposits, while the country is at the moment importing 95 percent of its energy. That is why the country has launched a strategy for developing its national oil shale resources,” said Eesti Energia, which operates internationally as Enefit.

It said in a statement that the memorandum of understanding would lead to Enefit carrying out preliminary studies of the oil shale deposits.

“If the studies prove to be successful, Enefit is interested in developing Moroccan oil shale resources and offering its well proven Enefit technology for shale oil production as well as unique expertise for power production to Morocco,” it said.

Enefit has also signed an oil shale exploration and concession deal with Jordan.

It said the total Moroccan shale oil has been estimated at 50 billion barrels.

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