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 19th World Oil, Gas and Renewables Review observes the emerging decarbonisation trends with the goal of helping to identify the necessary actions to tackle the climate challenge. When used in the transport sector, for example, the adoption of methane-based fuels can reduce CO2 emissions by 20-25% compared to traditional fossil fuels such as gasoline and diesel. If, on the other hand, it is used as a means of generating electricity, natural gas has a much greater positive impact, producing around half the CO2 emissions of coal per kWh of electricity generated. 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 is an example of how gas is a viable alternative to coal and oil when it comes to generating electricity.
DOCUFILM#6 - New lights in the Congo
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).
The future of gas
Natural gas is the fossil energy source with the lowest impact in terms of emissions: our goals for the future.
60% gas share
of total production by 2030
90% gas share
of total production by 2050
GHG emissions in 2050 vs 2018
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.
Read also on role of gas
Selected contents on this issue.