TalTech researchers help launch oil shale lab in Jordan

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Jordan oil shale mining company Attarat Mining Company (AMCO) officially opened a modern oil shale testing laboratory in December 2019, informed Attarat Power Company (APCO) on social media. Researchers and engineers from the Tallinn University of Technology of Virumaa College Oil Shale Competence Center advised the employees of the company`s lab in preparation for accreditation.

The AMCO oil shale laboratory has been accredited by the Jordanian accreditation body for the analysis of oil shale in accordance with international standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017.  According to lab manager Fatima Abbadi, the lab`s Jordanian workers have done a lot of work for accreditation, pointing out that the lab is one of Jordan`s most modern, helps to better understand Jordan`s oil shale, and opens up new possibilities, reported APCO.

Oil Shale Competence Center Fuel Testing Laboratory staff advised the AMCO laboratory on the selection of standards suitable for analysis and preparation of documentation, assisted with the selection of laboratory equipment and the purchase of standard substances. On the site, new equipment was adjusted for the analysis of oil shale and instructions were given to perform the analyses.

“Opening a new lab is always a challenge for the company. In particular, it concerns the oil shale analysis lab oratory, the launch of which requires great experience and thorough knowledge,” explained Olga, Pihl, head of the competence center`s laboratory. “When analysing oil shale, it is necessary to consider that equipment used in the laboratories for solid fuel analysis may not always be suitable for determining the specific oil shale characteristics. That`s exactly why Attarat Mining Company representatives turned to our lab for help,” explained Pihl.

Jordan`s oil shale is already familiar to the competence center lab. Between 2008 and 2013, at the order of Eesti Energia, the laboratory determined the technological characteristics of the oil shale in Jordan in a total of more than 3000 samples.

The annual production capacity of the Attarat oil shale mine is about 10 million tonnes. A total of 16 million tonnes of oil shale were mined in Estonia on 2018 (Estonian Oil Shale Industry. Yearbook 2018). The owners of the 554 mega-watt gross oil shale power plant and quarry to be built in central Jordan are equally 45 percent owned by Malaysian company YTL Power International Berhad and Chinese company Yudean Group and Eesti Energia with 10 percent. Jordan has one of the largest oil shale deposit in the world, with an estimated reserves of about 70 billion tonnes.

This article was first published 17 January by Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech).

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