Eni has decided to invest in new projects in Africa. Kenya has been chosen as the location for an agri-hub, or oilseed harvesting and pressing plant, from which the first vegetable oil produced for bio-refineries will also be produced. As stated in the company statement, ‘the initiative in Kenya represents the world’s first integrated project to bring Africa into the vertical bio-refinery chain, providing income opportunities and market access to thousands of farmers in degraded areas.
Claudio Descalzi, the company’s CEO, said he was satisfied with the success of the project as it embodies Eni’s approach to sustainability. Expounding on the cornerstones of the company’s philosophy, the CEO said, ‘Firstly, carbon neutrality, as bio-refining is an important element in our path towards zero emissions by 2050. Secondly, operational excellence, as we completed the work on schedule, one year after the agreement with the Kenyan government and six months after the start of construction, in total safety, with more than 200,000 working hours without accidents. Thirdly, social development, as we are creating opportunities for the local community: we have involved 25,000 farmers and employed up to 200 people per day in the construction of the centre.”
This is the first in a series of projects the company has planned in various parts of the world, especially on the African continent. The start-up of production in Kenya represents the first step in Eni’s agro-industrial supply chain initiatives. In the past year, agreements have been signed in several countries including Congo, Mozambique, Angola, Ivory Coast, Benin, Kazakhstan and Rwanda. In these countries, as well as in Italy, feasibility studies have been launched in the most mature realities with the aim of implementing an initial phase of agricultural activities starting in 2022 and then proceeding with the construction of seed-pressing plants for bio-refining.