Sannazzaro de’ Burgondi (Pavia), 16 May 2011 – Eni today started works for the first industrial application of the Eni Slurry Technology (EST) at its refining plant of Sannazzaro de’ Burgondi, near Pavia. EST is Eni’s proprietary technology for the conversion of heavy oil residues in fine products, gasoline and gasoil.
The EST technology, funded by Eni with over 1.1 billion Euro, represents the first Italian scientific and technological discover in the oil refining sector and the biggest industrial project currently underway in the country.
The project, which will be completed by the end of 2012 with the start of the 23,000 boe/day-capacity plant, commenced during 90s by Eni at its San Donato Milanese labs. Works continued at the Taranto refinery, where a 1,200 boe/day demo plant started operations in 2005, representing the reference point of the Sannazzaro plant. The design of the new plant, which will be carried out in accordance with the highest technological and environmental standards, began in 2008 and involved Saipem for the engineering activities.
The EST technology will enable Sannazzaro to become a zero fuel oil refinery, a standard of excellence for the technologies which will be used and the quality of fuels produced. The crude processing cycle in Sannazzaro is one of the most advanced in the world to date and is capable of producing a high environment-compatible gasoil thanks to the significant investments made by Eni in last 5 years.
The EST technology, which can valorise the exploitation of unconventional crudes, will also enable Eni to evaluate new, important opportunities in this industry, considering the significant reserves of this source in the world.
Unlike traditional oil processes, the EST technology can produce gasoline and gasoil without generating coke or fuel oil, whose market is constantly declining. Furthermore, it is based upon a hydro-conversion process developed through a special catalyst and a current of hydrogen self-produced starting from methane. This means that EST also allows the transformation of methane in a high quality liquid fuel through hydrogen production.