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. Together, they form the refining and marketing process that is in turn part of the broader Downstream operation. 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. For example, the Ruwais complex in Abu Dhabi, in which we hold a 20 per cent stake, is the fourth largest in the world in terms of capacity and guarantees a high conversion factor thanks to its use of cutting-edge technologies.
The Italian plants
There are currently six refining plants operating in Italy. Sannazzaro, located in the Po Valley, is one of the most efficient refineries in Europe thanks in part to its use of EST (Eni Slurry Technology). This proprietary conversion technology helps in the production of middle and light distillates from heavy crude oils. Meanwhile, the Taranto plant is the main distribution centre for petroleum products in south-eastern Italy. This refinery is fully integrated into the crude oil production process via a direct oil pipeline to the Val d’Agri oil field in Basilicata, in which Eni holds an absolute majority stake.
The bio-refinery in Venice (Porto Marghera) was converted from an existing oil refinery in June 2014 and the Sicilian site in Gela has a similar story, with the site home, as of August 2019, to the most innovative biofuel production plant in Europe, capable of converting 100 per cent of second-generation raw materials such as used vegetable and frying oils, animal fats, algae and waste by-products into high-quality biofuels. Finally, in Sicily, there is the Milazzo refinery, which is an equal joint venture between Eni and Kuwait Petroleum Italia, and Livorno, which produces lubricants and specialist products and is connected to the Calenzano field in Florence via an oil pipeline.
Acquiring new refining capacity in the Middle East
Overseas, we also own a 20 per cent share in the Ruwais refinery in Abu Dhabi and use our skills to support 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 per cent and helping us achieve a long-term, break-even margin of $1.5/barrel.
What do we produce at our refineries?
We produce quality fuels and lubricants, which are distributed through 4,223 service stations in Italy alone. Proprietary technologies such as EcofiningTM are used to produce a biofuel that can be added to normal fuels. We produced 219,000 tonnes of biofuel in 2018, representing a year-on-year increase of 206,000 tonnes.