By Maitane Sardon
Italian energy giant Eni SpA said Friday that it is reviewing its supply chain with the aim to eliminate the use of palm oil and its derivative PFAD by 2023.
The move comes as the EU works toward its goal of reducing to zero the use of high-emitting biofuels by 2030 after concluding last year that palm-oil diesel is unsustainable.
The oil-and-gas company said the measure is part of the wider decarbonization strategy it put it place in its 2020-23 strategic plan. In February, Eni announced plans to cut oil production from 2025, add more renewable-energy projects and reduce by 80% emissions for the entire life cycle of the products it makes.
Eni said it aims to stop using palm oil and palm fatty acid distillate--a residue from the palm-oil refining process--to make its biodiesels by the end of 2023. It also plans to increase its capacity to make fuel from biomass or raw materials to 5 million tons a year by 2050, which will lead to a reduction of its absolute lifecycle greenhouse-gas emissions of 30% by 2035 and 80% by 2050 from 2018 levels.
Eni said it transformed into biofuels 242,000 tons of palm oil, 23,000 tons of palm-oil mill effluent, 31,000 tons of used cooking oils and 8,000 tons of other oils in 2019.
"This is a step in the right direction to protect the world's remaining rainforests, our climate and orangutans," said Cristina Mestre, biofuels manager at Transport & Environment, a European research and advocacy group. "To make sure Eni fulfills its promise, we urge the Italian government and members of parliament to end all support for palm-oil diesel in 2021... and for soy diesel too, as it's another oil crop that drives deforestation."
Earlier this year, Eni was fined 5 million euros ($5.4 million) by the Italian competition authority for an advertisement campaign about its Diesel+ fuel in which it claimed "green diesel" contributes to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and encouraged customers to adopt it to "protect the environment." The Italian watchdog concluded that only the biodiesel component of the fuel might be environmentally friendly, not the whole product.
Eni, which has appealed the fine, told Dow Jones Newswires it believes the messages about its Diesel+ fuel were correct.
Write to Maitane Sardon at email@example.com