Over the past four years (2014-18) we have transformed the company, delivering on our strategy to strengthen Eni operationally and financially. We have enhanced our strategic upstream sector, both in terms of exploration and development, and made good progress in the turnaround.
Eni is now a fully integrated oil and gas company, focused on its core operations, targeting greater efficiency and higher cash generation across all businesses.
Exploration is a key feature of our organic growth. Our integrated model allows us to work on multiple development stages simultaneously, thereby optimising both time and cost.
We have restructured all of our businesses and today they are making a positive contribution to the group's results and cash-flow generation. Gas & Power, Refining & Marketing and Versalis are all prepared for a new era of growth.
Thanks to the actions we have taken and our structural efficiency programme, our strong balance sheet guarantees the sustainability of our remuneration policy in all price scenarios.
We are now entering a renewed phase of enhanced industrial expansion, driven by deeper business integration and a relentless focus on efficiency and capital discipline. Rigorous financial discipline and a strong commitment to digitalisation and decarbonization will unlock growth opportunities and generate greater value for shareholders. The 2018-21 plan represents the natural evolution of the strategy implemented in previous years and is designed to increase the value of all businesses.
Our new plan is characterised by the strong growth of all businesses, which is sustainable even in challenging scenarios, thanks to the robust actions we are taking.
Organic growth, cost flexibility and fastest time-to-market continue to be the main pillars of Eni’s strategy. Our value creation begins Upstream with exploration, but development is no less important. We have strengthened our in-house engineering model with new skill sets to enable us to speed up the different phases of development while exercising greater control over their execution.
Companies operating in the energy sector have to face challenges that have arisen from COP21, such as climate change and the gradual process of decarbonization. Our decarbonization policy concerns our prospecting for new energy sources as well as our mainstream business activities. It is based on these pillars:
Targeting a reduction in Upstream GHG emissions of 43 per cent compared to 2014 through projects aimed at eliminating process flaring, reducing fugitive emissions of methane and greater energy-efficiency measures.
Natural gas comprises a mixture of gas hydrocarbons, dominated by methane. Of all fossil fuels, it has the lowest carbon impact. We aim to combine sound finances with social and environmental sustainability.
The development of green business through our growing commitment to renewable energy, the development of the second phase of the Venice bio-refinery, the start-up of the new Gela bio-refinery by the end of 2018 and the consolidation of our green chemistry techniques.
Our commitment is further evidence of our vision for the future of energy. We are moving from a system based on fossil fuels to one focused on renewable sources – with natural gas, an energy source with a low carbon content, to bridge the gap.
We are counting on digital technology to drive future growth and create value. The results we have achieved in exploration and the reduction of time-to-market for projects are clear evidence of a great leap forward in our calculation and computing capacities. Not to mention the benefits of the Green Data Center, which has enabled us to greatly reduce our emissions. For Eni, new skills and technology are a strategic choice.
Eni will continue to focus on financial discipline combined with the sustainable growth of industrial projects in order to accelerate the generation of value for shareholders. The four-year investment plan, focused on high-value projects with rapid returns, envisages capital expenditure of less than €32 billion, of which more than 80 per cent will be in Upstream. Approximately €3.5 billion is expected to be invested in the R&M and Chemicals business, with an expected return rate of around 10 per cent. By 2021, more than 50 per cent of investments will be uncommitted, ensuring wide flexibility.
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