A plan to counteract emissions

Eni's strategy to face the challenges posed by the GHG Protocol.

by Nicholas Newman
03 September 2020
6 min read
by Nicholas Newman
03 September 2020
6 min read

In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout its entire value and supply chains, Eni recently adopted the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, a framework for organizations around the measurement and reporting of their greenhouse gas emissions. The company is using these standards, also known as GHG Protocol, to meet the challenge of providing verifiable methods to cut emissions that will be transparent to investors and the public. 

This voluntary protocol incorporates a set of tools that compares the effectiveness of decarbonization over time, as well as against other participants in the industry. Widely adopted, the GHG Protocol is incorporated in the International Standards Organization and the Climate Registry, along with hundreds of greenhouse gas standards and programs worldwide. On upstream assets, Eni has set out to reduce its emissions by 43% by 2025 as compared to its 2014 figure. This will be achieved through direct elimination of carbon emissions alongside investment in energy efficiency projects. Such efforts are also projected to cut the company's carbon intensity index by at least 2% per year between 2014 and 2021, which would result in an overall improvement of 13.2% over the entire period. The scopes established by the GHG Protocol serve as a guide to what, how and where to measure emissions.

In 2019, Eni reported that for its 41.2 MtonnesCO2 eq operational emissions, exploration and production was 23; refining, marketing and chemicals was 8; and gas and power was 10, with corporate and other activities comprising .2 million. Compared to 2010 levels (58.4 MtonnesCO2 eq), Eni's programmes to lower operational GHG emissions under Scope 1 and Scope 2 have resulted in a 29% reduction. Eni measures its GHG emissions by the emissions intensity per sale of energy product, as well as over the life cycle of each product sold. The measurements under Scope 1 and Scope 2 are subjected to external audit for assurance (Eni GHG Emissions Statement - 2019).

Reduce flaring

The flaring of gas during oil extraction and production can release various pollutants into the atmosphere, depending on the chemical composition of the gas and the efficiency of the flaring process. Eni has unilaterally set itself the challenge of ending flaring throughout its operations in 2025—five years ahead of the target set by the Global Gas Flaring Reduction (GGFR) 2030 initiative.

Well before the Paris Agreement, Eni was investing in the reduction of gas flaring by using associated gas for generating electricity, most notably in Italy and Nigeria. By re-injecting gas and optimising the practice of emergency flaring, Eni was able to reduce flaring 8% over the previous year.

Minimize methane emissions

Methane emissions come largely from upstream operations; at 64 ktonnes CH4, these account for approximately 97% of Eni's total methane emissions per year —making methane emissions an important decarbonization target. Accidental methane leaks from valves and flanges are an important issue, and Eni is working to reduce such emissions by 80% between 2014 and 2025.

At present, about 70% of the company's upstream assets (calculated on the basis of production levels) have already been fitted with Leak Detection and Repair (LDAR) monitoring programmes. This has resulted in a cut of about 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2018.

Energy efficiency

Eni has adopted the carbon efficiency index, which aims to quantify intensity of direct and indirect GHG emissions. Also, during 2018, the company invested €10 million in energy efficiency projects expected to save 313 tonnes of oil equivalent per year. To date, structural and operational changes have brought 19 tonnes of oil equivalent of energy savings and about 42 tonnes of CO2 equivalent of direct emissions.

Indirect emissions

Eni's emissions from electricity, steam and heat purchased from third parties are negligible at about 0.7 million tonnes CO2 equivalent. Eni has begun a significant diversification of renewable power generation.

In 2017, Eni's subsidiary, Eni Gas e Luce, began renewable power generation in Italy. At the start of 2020, Eni's renewable assets totaled 159 MW shared between four countries. Under Eni's 2020-23 Action Plan, the company has set itself the challenge of increasing its renewable electricity generation capacity to 3 GW (gigawatts) by 2023. In addition, Eni is planning to further increase up to 5 GW in 2025, and eventually reach 55 GW by mid-century. This is expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80%.

Collaborative decarbonization

As for the supply chain, Eni launched a collaborative virtual platform in May 2020, called eniSpace, to provide a common area for the company's suppliers to work together with Eni's energy transition objectives. In this context, Eni has pioneered life-cycle analysis in tracking progress toward carbon neutrality. This method of emissions reporting is reviewed by independent experts at Imperial College London. In addition, results are verified by RINA, an independent certification company.

Eni has set an annual improvement target of 2% on emissions across all of its industrial assets for the period 2014 to 2021. In parallel, emissions arising from the ultimate use of Eni's products, including petrol, diesel and kerosene, are measured and monitored by the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association. Summing up, one thing is clear amongst its fellow big energy companies: Eni is proving to be a leader in decarbonizing its global operations.

The author: Nicholas Newman

Journalist who regularly writes about agriculture, aerospace, business, energy, engineering, rail, shipping, technology, transport for clients worldwide.