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Eni and Gruppo B.F. partner to develop sustainable agricultural products for biofuel production

Italy-headed oil and gas major Eni S.p.A. (Eni) has announced that it has entered into a partnership with compatriot Gruppo B.F. S.p.A. (B.F.) to form a 50:50 joint venture that will carry out development research on growing alternative oilseeds on marginal lands for use as feedstock at Eni's biorefineries.

Eni S.p.A. (Eni) has entered into a partnership with Gruppo B.F. S.p.A. (BF) to form a 50:50 joint venture that will carry out research on growing alternative oilseeds on marginal lands for use as feedstock at Eni’s biorefineries (photo courtesy Eni).

B.F. along with its subsidiaries including Bonifiche Ferraresi S.p.A. is the largest agricultural company in Italy in terms of utilized agricultural area (UAA) with operations on 7 750 hectares (ha).

The agreement builds on a strong track record of collaboration between Eni and BF in the agricultural sector for the development of economic diversification initiatives, skill transfer, and support for entrepreneurship in Italy and abroad.

Furthermore, the agreement between the companies provides for the purchase by Eni of a minority stake in Bonifiche Ferraresi and for Eni’s entry into BF’s share capital by means of a reserved capital increase.

The agreement is of strategic importance for Eni since as of 2023, Eni will no longer use palm oil in its production processes.

The testing and experimentation activities of the joint venture will be carried out at Bonifiche Ferraresi’s “Open Sky Laboratories” in Sardinia and will be aimed at assessing the ability to replicate production processes currently used in Italy in the other countries in which Eni operates, Africa in particular.

The joint venture will also focus on the development of training programs for personnel for agro-feedstock project development sectors.

The identification of the most suitable plant species will comply with the sustainability criteria defined in the European Directive on biofuels, promoting sustainable cultivation, protecting the soil, and not taking away land that could be used for food production, thus promoting the sustainable economic development of marginal land in Italy and abroad.

The initiative is part of Eni’s strategy for achieving full carbon neutrality by 2050, which includes green refining as a strategic element, with production capacity expected to double to around 2 million tonnes by 2024 and a further increase to 5-6 million tonnes expected by 2050.

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