Oil major Eni sets out 'net zero' carbon emission plan

18 March 2019

Italian oil and gas major Eni has set out its plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030, noting an additional €3bn of investment towards forestry offsets, renewables, circular economy initiatives, energy efficiency, and flaring down projects.

Outlining its four-year business strategy, the company said it would achieve the "ambitious" emission target by minimising CO2 in its operations - such as through cutting methane leaks - and offsetting residual upstream emissions through large forestry projects.

The company hopes to plant enough woodland as a natural carbon sink to capture up to 20Mt a year of carbon emissions by 2030, making it the largest forestry offset commitment to date from a major oil firm.

By 2022 the company aims to complete 60 clean energy projects, investing $1.4 billion in expanding its renewable energy capacity to 2.6GW, up from just 200MW this year. It then plans to almost double its renewable capacity to up to 5GW in total by 2025, while also gearing up its focus on energy storage.

Within its own operations, meanwhile, Eni said it aimed to reduce its operating costs by replacing gas consumption with renewables. However, the company - which holds three billion barrels of oil reserves - still plans to grow its upstream oil business, aiming to deliver 2.5 billion barrels of new resources by drilling 140 exploration wells through to 2022.

Claudio Descalzi, Eni CEO, said decarbonisation was a "strategic priority" for the company's board, and that deployment of its own new technologies would play a "key role", while also helping to boost profitability.

"We are committed to a low carbon future and today we are setting a new target to reach upstream carbon neutrality by 2030," he said. "We are committed to growing our renewables business organically during the plan. Our renewables portfolio is well diversified both geographically and in terms of technologies. In the future we are planning to increase our exposure to energy storage. In Italy, we will expand the 'Progetto Italia', our industrial conversion project generating power from renewables on reclaimed industrial areas."

Eni's move follows rival oil giant Shell's pledge on Friday to cut the net carbon footprint of its business by between 2-3 per cent by 2021, marking the company's first ever short-term emissions reduction target. Shell now plans to set short term emissions goals every five years.