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. In the 2021-2024 Strategic Plan we set the target for full decarbonization of all products and processes by 2050. To get there we will need time and the right tools for the transition. Natural gas will certainly be one of these tools. It may seem contradictory, given that it is a fossil fuel, but in fact this raw material is uniquely placed to drive the necessary transition from today's carbon-intensive use to a low-carbon future, as it is a mix of gaseous hydrocarbons, mainly methane, making it a cleaner source of energy than hydrocarbons such as coal and oil. Our 20th World Energy Review highlights the emerging decarbonisation trends with a view to facilitating the identification of the necessary actions to tackle the climate challenge. When used in the transportation sector, for example, the adoption of methane-based fuels can reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 20% compared to traditional fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel. Conversely, if, it is used as a means of electricity generation, natural gas has a much greater positive impact, producing nearly half the CO2 emissions of coal per kWh of electricity generated. Against this backdrop, natural gas has the lowest carbon footprint among all fossil fuels, generating about half the CO2 emissions of coal per kWh of electricity generated, even by taking into account the “fugitive emissions” associated with methane production. The Centrale Electrique du Congo project is an example of how gas is a viable alternative to coal and oil when it comes to generating electricity.

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The role of gas in our strategy

The use of gas is one of the levers on our decarbonization path. What is decarbonization? It is the evolution of the ratio between carbon and hydrogen in energy sources and is achieved when this ratio is very low, as is the case with natural gas where this ratio is 1 atom of carbon and 4 of hydrogen, the lowest among fossil energy sources, and which can be improved further by capturing and storing CO2 (CCS), a  technological solution which we are focusing on. Gas will be an increasingly important component in Eni's production mix in the coming years, reaching 60% by 2030 and even 90% by 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.