Set for growth. After presenting the 2018-21 Strategic Plan in London, and sharing it with our investors in New York, Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi will outline it once again at the Investor Day at the Palazzo della Borsa (Stock Exchange), in Milan on 18 April. In the past four years we have transformed the company, delivering on our strategy to strengthen Eni both operationally and financially. Now, we are entering a renewed phase of strong and enhanced industrial expansion, driven by a deeper business integration and a relentless focus on efficiency and capital discipline. A rigorous financial discipline and a strong commitment to digitalization and decarbonization, will unlock growth opportunities and generate greater value for shareholders.
This new Plan is characterized by the strong growth of all business lines, sustainable even in challenging scenarios, thanks to the consistency of the actions taken, the boosting integration and financial discipline. The Plan aims to further strengthen the portfolio of Eni’s activities and accelerate the generation of value for shareholders. The remuneration for shareholders will mainly take place through the distribution of dividends, while buy backs will be evaluated in the instance of cash exceeding our leverage target of 20-25%.
Organic growth, cost flexibility and fastest time-to-market continue to be the main pillars of Eni’s strategy. Our creation of value 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.
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.
Our decarbonisation policy concerns our prospecting for new energy sources as well as our mainstream business activities. We shall continue to support the growing use of natural gas in the energy mix while planning for large-scale development of green enterprises.
Refining and chemicals fall within the Midstream sector of the production process, where our priorities are innovation, care for the environment and sustainability. We were the first company to convert a conventional refinery into a bio-refinery, in Venice, and we shall be completing the conversion of Gela by the end of the year. We have also launched a series of green chemicals projects.