The objective of this paper is to elucidate the sustainability of Estonian shale oil industry until the year 2030 in terms of the full cycle breakeven cost of oil. The full cycle cost is rapidly increasing due to increasing necessary capital expenditure, increased national taxation and the European Union (EU) carbon (C) emissions abatement policies. There is a fair amount of uncertainty about all three components, which makes scenario analysis an appropriate tool to estimate the survivability of Estonian shale oil industry scenarios in the next 15 years.
Past economic performance alone is not a proper guide for future in case of Estonian oil shale industry. However, heavy investments have been made in the industry since 2011 and several hundred million euros are being invested or planned to invest in the replacement of old capacity and raising new oil production capacity.
Analysis shows that, indeed, in certain scenarios the shale oil breakeven price is at the highest end of global crude oil production projects, thus raising questions of the industry’s survivability in case of multiyear sustained global oil prices below 90 USD/bbl. Conclusions of the study are relevant to analyzing the full cycle costs of other promising global shale oil projects.
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