Le nostre attività

Refining & Marketing: from resource to market

Traditional and bio refining are becoming increasingly efficient in responding to the demands of markets and end customers.

The evolution of refining

Refining and Marketing includes traditional refining but more importantly bio-refining: a fast-growing sector, with the volumes of bio-feedstock processed more than doubling in 2020 compared to 2019. The entire sector is overseen by the new Energy Evolution Department, one of the two departments that make up the new corporate organisation. More specifically, Energy Evolution supports the evolution of the generation, transformation and sales businesses towards the organic, blue and green sectors and contributes to the overall objective of selling fully decarbonized products by 2050.

The 2021-2024 Strategic Plan provides for the following over the coming years:

  • optimising traditional refining activities (exploiting the system's flexibilities) as well as achieving the full potential of the Ruwais refining complex
  • diversification through the expansion of organic refining activity with the increase in organic processing capacity to 2 million tonnes by 2024, palm oil-free and powered by 80% waste & residues feedstock
  • increased marketing in Europe by focusing on high-margin segments, the expansion of the alternative fuel offering, the further development of non-oil services in retail and, more generally, the promotion of sustainable mobility.

Traditional refining

Once the oil and natural gas have been extracted and transported, the fuel and chemical product procurement, supply, processing, distribution and marketing stages come into play. As in any other field, new technologies have been developed to digitally control and manage this part of the production phase to help improve both operational quality and economic performance.

The traditional refineries of Sannazzaro, Livorno, Taranto and Milazzo are in operation in Italy. Sannazzaro, in the Po Valley, is an advanced plant that also uses Eni's proprietary EST (Eni Slurry Technology) to produce middle and light distillates from heavy crude oils. In Livorno, meanwhile, we produce lubricants and specialties at a refinery that is connected via an oil pipeline to the Calenzano (Florence) deposit. The Taranto plant is the most important hub for the distribution of oil products in south-eastern Italy and is also connected via an oil pipeline to the Val d'Agri fields in Basilicata, in which Eni holds an absolute majority share. Finally, in Milazzo, Sicily, we have a refinery in which Eni and Kuwait Petroleum Italia hold an equal share.

Outside of Italy, through ADNOC Refining, in which we hold a 20% share, we operate at the Ruwais  complex in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, the fourth largest in the world in terms of capacity and guaranteeing a high conversion factor thanks to its use of cutting-edge technologies. Thanks to the expertise that we have acquired, we are providing support for the technological development of the three refineries operated by ADNOC Refining in the Ruwais and Abu Dhabi areas. The deal is one of the most significant ever in the refining sector, increasing Eni's refining capacity by 35% and helping us achieve a long-term break-even margin of $1.5/barrel.

The role of bio-refineries

The overall strategy of the Refining and Marketing sector focuses on developing organic refining capacity, which we plan to double to 2 million tonnes/year by 2024 and then further increase to a capacity of 5-6 million tonnes per year by 2050. Furthermore, as of 2023, bio-refineries will be powered exclusively using 2nd and 3rd generation palm oil-free feedstocks, i.e. that would not otherwise be used for food. This new impetus for the refining sector stems from Italy, and from our bio-refineries in Venice and Gela, the result of our tangible and continuous commitment to research and technological innovation. Two examples of what is produced at these bio-refineries are HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) biofuel, produced from food production waste using the Ecofining TM proprietary technology, and bio-oil obtained from FORSU (Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste) using the Waste to Fuel technology, also developed at our Research Centres.

Oil from end-of-life tyres

At our plants in Italy, we are also working on a further line of development in the field of advanced fuels produced from waste, namely the possibility of obtaining pyrolysis oil from the treatment of end-of-life tyres (ELTs). This particular area is the subject of an agreement with Ecopneus signed in July 2021, aimed at assessing the most suitable technologies for exploiting ELTs and obtaining both energy products (pyrolysis oil) and chemical products (asphalts, sports surfaces, acoustic insulation, street furniture, etc.) with a view to encouraging the circular economy and environmental sustainability. The agreement strengthens our collaboration with Ecopneus, already our partner in a project in Massafra (Taranto) to lay asphalt modified with polymers and rubber powder from ELTs, implemented in June 2020 under an agreement with the Municipality of Massafra. Specifically, as part of this initiative, Eni made bitumen produced in the Taranto refinery available, while Ecopneus provided its technical know-how, with Irigom, an Ecopneus partner company, providing "zero km" rubber powder from end-of-life tyres.