In September 2022, the President of the Republic of Congo met Eni’s Chief Executive Officer to discuss the Company’s main business activities in the country, as well as other innovative initiatives. Mr Sassou Nguesso and Mr Descalzi focused on the progress made towards the valorisation and commercialisation of the country's gas resources, which will enable the export of around 1 billion cubic metres of gas in the winter of 2023-2024 and up to 4.5 billion per year from winter 2024-2025 onwards through the use of floating LNG facilities. Studies are also underway to implement Natural Climate Solutions projects in forestry, in synergy with agri-feedstock initiatives. These will generate carbon credits and positive social and economic impacts for local communities while promoting biodiversity conservation. The parties also took stock of the upcoming project to distribute improved cookstoves, which will replace traditional biomass devices, significantly reducing the impact on forests.
In line with Eni's strategy to leverage gas equity resources, in August 2022 we acquired the company Export LNG Ltd, which owns the Tango FLNG floating liquefaction facility. The facility will be used as part of the activities of the natural gas development project in the Marine XII block. The acquisition of this facility allows the development of a fast-track model capable of seizing the opportunities of the LNG market.
In April 2022, leveraging its consolidated partnership with the country, Eni signed framework agreement with the Republic of Congo to boost joint E&P operations and increase natural gas exports towards Europe. In particular the increase of natural gas production in the country will leverage also on the development of a LNG project with start-up expected in 2023 and a capacity of 4.5 billion cubic meters a year once fully operational.
In October 2021 we signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the joint development of the agro-biofuel sector in the country. The MoU sets the framework for the industrial scale production of castor oil, to provide feedstock for Eni’s bio-refinery system, while also creating employment opportunities and expanding agricultural activities to marginal and abandoned lands, avoiding impacts on agricultural areas and activities currently destined for food production. We are starting to build the first agri-hub in Loudima, in the department of Bouenza, with a yield of 30,000 tonnes of vegetable oil per year, thus achieving 170.000 tonnes/year in 2026 and 200.000 tonnes/year by 2030, delivering significant economic and social developments for rural communities.
It will be a seed-to-oil processing plant, but also a multifunctional centre where local farmers can receive training and technical support. We will continue building more agri-hubs and in 2026 we expect to reach a production of 150,000 tonnes of oil per year. Expected impacts include income generation for more than 5,000 households in 2023, rising to 100,000 by 2030. It is a great opportunity for the development and diversification of the country's economy. This MoU opens a new area of activity for Eni in Congo, in support of the Congolese National Development Plan for Agriculture 2018-2022, and builds upon Eni’s commitment to contribute to the decarbonisation of African countries’ energy mix, leveraging the contribution that biofuels can make to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.