Eni, Saipem Agree Potential Biofuel Production


Saipem SPA and Eni SPA have signed a cooperation deal for the potential creation of biofuel production plants.

The collaboration involves both converting fossil fuel refineries and building new biofuel refineries. The deal will “support the transformation path of traditional refineries and the development of new Eni biorefineries”, Italian energy giant Eni said in a press release.

“The agreement is in line with the decarbonization goals of Eni and Saipem, and it focuses on the study for and subsequent potential construction of plants for the production of biojet, a sustainable aviation fuel, and of the biofuel HVO [hydrogenated vegetable oil] diesel, produced from 100 percent renewable raw materials (pursuant to EU Directive 2018/2001 ‘REDII’)”, said the announcement on Eni’s website.

“The agreement involves the application of Eni’s proprietary Ecofining technology for both the development of new biorefineries and the conversion of traditional refineries, combining Eni’s extensive technological and operational experience with Saipem’s distinctive expertise in the design and construction of this type of plants”, government-controlled Eni added.

Saipem had provided support for the building of Eni’s biorefineries in the Italian cities of Gela and Venice, which produce HVOlution. Made out of vegetable residues and waste raw materials, or crop-based oil, HVOlution can deliver emission reductions of up to 90 per cent relative to the benchmark fossil blend based on European Union parameters, according to Eni.

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In the latest contract for HVOlution, logistics firm Lannutti Group has agreed to grow its use of the Eni product. “With 300 trucks in its Italian fleet already powered exclusively with HVO (out of a total European fleet of 1,500 units), Lannutti Group – founded in 1963 and now operating in 8 European countries – has chosen to make an active step forward in its decarbonization journey”, Eni said in a news release October 19 announcing the agreement.

On September 14 it announced a pact with South Korean chemical producer LG Chem Ltd. for the potential of building a biorefinery at the latter’s chemical complex in the South Korean town of Daesan.

“It is designed to process approximately 400,000 tons of bio-feedstocks annually using Eni’s Ecofining process, developed in collaboration with Honeywell UOP”, Eni said in a press release at the time. “It will also have the flexibility to process renewable bio-feedstocks and produce multiple products including Sustainable Aviation Fuel, Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil, and bio-naphtha”.

LG Chem and Eni expect a final investment decision next year.

Eni, which claims to be the first company to convert two traditional refineries into biofuel plants through the two Italian projects, plans to expand its biorefining capacity from the current 1.65 million metric tons per annum (MMtpa) to over five MMtpa by 2030, as stated in its strategic plan for 2023–26.

Eni has pledged to go carbon dioxide-neutral by 2050, and the “development of biofuels is one of Eni’s Just Transition drivers based on the circular economy”, as stated in its annual report on its net zero roadmap progress.


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Written by Emmanuel Nuotah

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