San Donato Milanese (Milan), 18 June 2012 – Eni will be in Brazil for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in Rio de Janeiro, from 20-22 June 2012. Twenty years after the Earth Summit, which took place in this very same Brazilian city in 1992, Rio+20 aims to define the new global agenda for sustainable development and renew the international community’s commitment to this objective. Representatives from numerous governments, along with those from civil society and various companies, will discuss innovative measures for reducing poverty, promoting dignified jobs, using resources more fairly and protecting the environment.
At the Rio+20 summit, Eni confirms its commitment to sustainable development and the agreements made twenty years ago at the Earth Summit, where it was the only Italian company to participate, among the very few private companies taking part in the conference.
Over the years, Eni has continued the path established at the Earth Summit, and has increasingly integrated its principles into its business strategy, developing a unique system of skills, solutions and technologies for sustainable development in terms of production and support for international political processes and the adoption of innovative solutions.
Eni's history and mode of operation are competitive levers that over time have led to its international growth, based on the principles of responsibility, cooperation, integration, inclusion, innovation and excellence. It is the combination of these distinctive elements of the business model that guides investment decisions, contributes to prevention and mitigation of risks and allows to achieve the strategic objectives of sustainable growth in the short, medium and long term.
Participating in Rio+20 allows for a discussion about development, which is also a discussion about energy. If economic growth is the engine of a country, energy is the key to the ignition.
Meeting the challenges of sustainable development can be done by way of efficiency, research and technological innovation as well as a better mix of energy resources with an emphasis on natural gas, the natural candidate for achieving both development and environmental protection. It is a subject that Eni knows well because it has always been a part of its history and business model. In June 1952, exactly 60 years ago, Enrico Mattei and Italian Prime Minister Alcide De Gasperi ushered in the first natural gas power plant in Italy and the first major pipeline linking Cortemaggiore to Turin, providing the foundation for the post-war economic boom. Eni has used this model in the countries where it operates, the Republic of Congo being an important example.
One of Eni’s objectives in attending the conference is to demonstrate the company's ability to provide innovative answers that combine environmental protection and local development: for example, by transforming a practice that is not sustainable from an environmental perspective (gas flaring: the flare combustion of gas associated with oil, due to the lack of local markets and infrastructure) into a business opportunity (enhancement of associated gas and gas in general, to increase access to modern energy services). In this field, there is the innovative business model developed by Eni in Congo where the company, since 2007, has been engaged in large-scale investment in access to energy. In the Republic of Congo, three quarters of the population live without access to modern energy resources. The country is characterized by a highly concentrated population in the main cities of Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville, and most industrial activities are concentrated in Pointe-Noire. It is in this context that the Government of the Republic of Congo has developed, in cooperation with Eni, active in the country since 1968, an integrated project involving the construction and rehabilitation of power plants and electricity transmission and the distribution of electricity.
The plants represent 60% of the country's total electrical output, and along with the National Electrical Grid project (RIT), Eni restructured the high-voltage 220kV line between Pointe-Noire and Brazzaville, along with 8 electrical substations. The energy produced is distributed in Pointe Noire, where, thanks to these stations, around 310,000 people are now served. By 2013, through restructuring and expanding the low voltage distribution network in Pointe Noire, some 140,000 people will benefit from a new connection to the grid.
Eni aims to explore opportunities in order to improve this business approach and replicate it in new markets. To this end, it is working with numerous partners, first among them the Earth Institute of Columbia University.
Addressing the lack of access to sustainable, reliable and affordable energy for millions of people is one of the most critical challenges for development.Increasing the access to energy is a key factor in economic and social progress for every country and is considered a priority in order to break the cycle of poverty, and reach the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations.