KENYA – Eni, an Italian multinational oil and gas company, through its Kenyan unit has exported its first batch of vegetable oil for biorefining to its Gela bio-refinery in Sicily.

The designated destination is one of the most innovative plants in Europe with high operational flexibility, processing different types of feedstocks, and has an authorised capacity of 750,000 tonnes/year.

The first shipment marks the start of the transport and logistic system that will support the value chain in the country, starting with a production of 2,500 tons by the end of 2022 to scale up rapidly to 20,000 tons in 2023.

The vegetable oil is produced at Eni’s recently launched Makueni agri-hub, with an installed capacity of 15,000 tons, utilizing locally sourced castor, croton and cottonseeds as raw materials.

These are agri-feedstock, which are not in competition with the food chain, cultivated in degraded area, harvested from spontaneous trees or resulting from the valorization of agricultural by-products, providing income opportunities and market access to thousands of farmers.

The hub also manufactures feed and bio-fertilisers from the protein component of seeds, benefiting the livestock production and thus contributing to the food security.

Production of biofuel is part of the global shift to clean fuels and cut reliance on expensive fossil fuels, thus reduce carbon emissions that have significantly polluted the environment.

“Just three months after the start-up of the Makueni agri-hub, we are launching the export of the vegetable oil for the biorefineries, through a vertical integration model that enables the promotion of sustainable local development while valorizing the supply chain for biofuels production.

“These are the seeds of a new energy, a concrete step to decarbonize transport with an innovative approach,” said Claudio Descalzi, Eni’s Chief Executive Officer.

Claudio noted that the production in Kenya is seen as a model country on the continent in the biofuel shift with plans to extend to Congo in the next year.

The company also plans to gradually involve the other African countries and geographic areas where they are carrying out these projects including Mozambique, Angola, Ivory Coast, Benin, Rwanda and Kazakhstan.

For these countries, as well as for Italy, feasibility studies have been launched in the most mature realities aiming at carrying out a first phase of agricultural activities before the year ends and then proceeding with the construction of seeds pressing plants for bio-refining.

In addition to vegetable oil, Eni also plans to export the Used Cooking Oil (UCO) collected from hotel chains, restaurants, and bars in Nairobi.

This will be done through a project already underway that promotes the culture of recycling, raising awareness of the environmental and health benefits that derive from the proper disposal of waste oil, and generating income from waste.

By 2025, the company aims to cover 35% of its biorefineries’ supply thanks to the vertical integration of the agri-feedstock and waste&residue chain, which will enable it to secure volumes of vegetable oil in a challenging environment in terms of prices, growing energy demand and availability of sustainable.

It is important to note that Eni Kenya’s supply chain and all agri-feedstock developed are certified according to the ISCC-EU (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) sustainability scheme, one of the main voluntary standards recognised by the European Commission for the certification of biofuels (RED II).

The parent company was the first organization in the world to certify castor and croton and to enable an African cotton mill to achieve these assurance standards, offering new market opportunities to local farmers for this raw material.

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