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Gas: a bridge to a low-emissions future

Natural gas is capable to facilitate the necessary transition from the currently intensive use of carbon to a low-carbon future.

A low-carbon future

The short-term future of energy is "low-carbon", but the ultimate aim that we are all committed to achieving is to be completely carbon free. Getting there will take time and will also require tools to make this transition possible. One of these is undoubtedly natural gas. Although also a fossil fuel, this raw material is uniquely placed to facilitate the transition from the current intensive use of carbon to a low-carbon future. Even the latest World Energy Outlook of the International Energy Agency (IEA), presented in December 2019, predicts that gas will be the fastest-growing source of energy over the next two decades, second only to solar power and four times faster than oil.

Natural gas is a blend of gaseous hydrocarbons, predominately methane, and is a cleaner energy source than coal or oil. In the transport sector, for example, the adoption of methane-based fuels can reduce CO2 emissions by 20-25 per cent compared to traditional fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel.

But natural gas can have an even more positive impact when used as a means of generating electricity. In that context, natural gas has the lowest carbon footprint of all fossil fuels, generating about half the CO2 emissions of coal per kWh of electricity generated, even taking into account the “fugitive emissions” associated with methane production. The Centrale Electrique du Congo project shows how gas is a viable alternative to coal and oil when it comes to generating electricity.

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Gas… by chance

The role of gas in our strategy

The use of gas is one of the key factors in our pathway to decarbonization. What is decarbonization? This refers to the evolution of the relationship between the carbon and hydrogen found in various energy sources and is achieved when this ratio is very low, as is the case with natural gas, notably by capturing and sequestering CO2 (CCS) - a solution we are currently focusing our efforts on. Gas will represent an increasingly large proportion of Eni’s production mix over the coming years, rising from 60% in 2025 to as much as 85% in 2050, as part of a long-term strategy that is entirely in keeping with two of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) promoted by the United Nations - No. 7 (Affordable and clean energy) and No. 9 (Industry, innovation and infrastructure).

Eni: a role in the natural gas field

Gas production and distribution has three stages and Eni, aware of the fundamental role this hydrocarbon can play in energy transition, is active in all three of them. 

The first, known as Upstream, involves the acquisition of exploitation rights, exploration, the setting up of extraction sites and extraction itself. 

Midstream link between the Upstream and Downstream sectors, deals with the sale and provision of gas, including sales made in the Downstream sector.

The Downstream stage comes at the end of the process and includes transport as well as all aspects of the distribution and retail sale into the refined products market.