Carbon capture and storage is a cornerstone of Eni's sustainability strategy, with the Italian major advancing a number of projects around the world. [image credit: Eni]

By Andreas Walstad

Eni sees carbon capture and storage (CCS) as key to reaching its climate targets, which include net-zero emissions by 2050, and the Italian firm has set a 10mn metric ton/year CO2 storage target by 2030. Investments are well underway in a number of CCS projects around the world, with the Ravenna project in Italy expected to become operational already next year.

In 2022, Eni achieved a 17% reduction in net greenhouse gas (GHG) lifecycle emissions for Scope 1, 2 and 3, compared with 2018 levels, according to the company’s sustainability report released in May. However, the Italian major is under pressure to speed up its decarbonisation efforts in order to reach its interim targets for CO2 reductions. 

Eni’s interim targets for GHG emissions reductions including Scope 1, 2 and 3, using 2018 as a baseline, are 35% by 2030, 55% by 2035 and 80% by 2040. To this end, Eni targets around 10mn mt/yr of CO2 storage capacity by 2030, rising to 35mn mt/yr by 2040 and 50mn mt/yr by 2050.

Utilising its own depleted gas fields and repurposing associated infrastructure is key to Eni’s CCS strategy.

At home, the first phase of the Ravenna CCS project in northern Italy, which Eni is developing together with grid operator Snam, is taking shape with operations expected to start in the first quarter of 2024. The CO2 will be captured from Eni's natural gas treatment plant in Casalborsetti and piped to the Porto Corsini Mare Ovest platform and then injected into a depleted offshore gas field. The injection volume is modest to begin with, at just 25,000 mt/yr, but the plan is to scale up fast. 

By 2026, the project’s second phase will start with a storage injection of up to 4mn mt/yr, aimed at decarbonising both Eni’s own operations and hard-to-abate industries, focusing on the emitters in the Ravenna-Ferrara industrial clusters.

“The huge overall offshore gas fields storage capacity, estimated at more than 500mn mt, will allow to increase this value to up to 16mn mt after 2030, turning Ravenna CCS into the hub of reference in the Mediterranean area,” a spokesperson for Eni tells Gas Pathways.

According to Eni, the Ravenna project is progressing according to plans. The spokesperson says Ravenna CCS has no particular technological challenges to overcome because it will leverage depleted gas reservoirs offshore in the Adriatic Sea, which Eni is very familiar with. Existing facilities - including sealines, platforms and wells - will be repurposed for transportation and storage.


MENA aspirations

Eni is an established oil and gas player in North Africa and the Middle East and it has now begun to roll out CCS projects also there. In Libya, for example, the Bahr Essalam (BES) project aims to capture and store CO2 associated with gas production from Eni's offshore fields from 2027. Eni’s sustainability report suggests the storage capacity could be 2.5mn mt/yr while total capacity is 50mn mt.

“The project is progressing in line with the defined timeline, envisaging start-up in 2027. The aim is to capture and store the CO2 associated with gas production of Eni's gas fields offshore Libya, thus contributing to achieving Libya's and Eni's emissions reduction targets strategy,” the spokesperson says.

Eni is also participating in a CCS project in Egypt, to capture about 30,000 mt/yr from the Meleiha field in the north of the country. But the plans for Egypt go further than that.

The spokesperson says Eni is evaluating a potential CO2 storage hub in depleted gas fields in the Nile Delta area, aimed at storing both its own emissions and those from third parties. “The CO2 would come from emitters of Damietta's industrial area, as well as from other industrial clusters in the country,” says the spokesperson.

Eni is also engaged in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where it is developing the Ghasha gas project jointly with ADNOC after buying a 25% stake in the concession in 2018. It encompasses a number of fields including the Hail, Ghasha and Dalma fields. The project will produce more than 1.5bn ft3/day of gas when it becomes operational by the middle of the decade, according to plans. From Ghasha, the CO2 associated with gas production will be captured and delivered to ADNOC, who will be responsible for its underground storage, according to Eni. 

Meanwhile, in Australia, Eni and Santos are jointly developing a CCS hub aimed at capturing and storing the CO2 associated with future gas projects offshore the Northern Territory; the Caldita Barossa field operated by Santos and the Verus field operated by Eni, the latter previously known as Evans Shoal. The depleted gas reservoir of Bayu Undan offshore East Timor has been identified as the underground CO2 storage site. The project will repurpose existing facilities for transportation and storage.

Co-developer Santos announced in early May that it had signed four memoranda of understanding (MoU) for CO2 storage from third parties concerning Bayu-Undan where front end engineering design work is nearing completion.

The four MOUs for CO2 supply to Bayu-Undan CCS have been executed with potential upstream gas and LNG projects offshore the Northern Territory and in Darwin, and an energy and industrial conglomerate in Korea, Santos said. The MOUs indicate demand for CO2 storage at Bayu-Undan CCS could be in excess of 10mn mt/yr. A final investment decision (FID) for Bayu-Undan CCS is targeted for 2025.


Flagship projects in the UK

Closer to home, Eni also has grand plans for carbon capture in industrial clusters in the UK and related CO2 storage in the North Sea.  

The transport and storage (T&S) project related to HyNet North West, which is 100% operated by Eni, is on track to start-up by the mid 2020s with an initial storage injection of 4.5mn mt/yr, according to Eni. This is expected to rise up to 10mn mt/yr in the early 2030s with the aim of decarbonising heavy industry. Eni’s depleted gas reservoirs in Liverpool Bay will be used for the permanent underground CO2 storage by repurposing parts of the existing assets. Total storage capacity is estimated at 200mn mt of CO2

In March 2023, UK authorities selected the five priority emitters to be linked to the T&S project. They are Hanson Cement, Viridor, Encyclis, Buxton Lime Zero (Tarmac) and Vertex Hydrogen and will together remove about 3mn mt/yr of CO2. As for the overall integrated Hynet project schedule, this is currently in the process of being determined. 

In parallel, engagement with the UK Department for Energy Strategy and Net Zero (DESNZ) is ongoing, in order to finalise the T&S business model as well as the business model for the emitters’ capture projects. 

Once the regulatory hurdles have been dealt with, the development should be relatively straight-forward to carry out, according to Eni. 

“The CO2 transportation and storage has no particular technological challenges to overcome because the project will leverage depleted gas reservoirs offshore the Liverpool Bay Area, which Eni operates and knows very well,” says the spokesperson.

The HyNet project has already received funds from UK authorities, about £33mn ($41mn), to cover around 50% of the investments necessary to finalise the engineering design studies. Moreover it was selected as one of the two priority projects (Track 1 projects) out of the five competing in the Cluster Sequencing Bid which will have access to governmental funds established to support CCUS development in the UK. CCS and CCUS have strong political backing in the UK where the government has pledged £20bn in support over the next two decades. 

Eni is also advancing a second project in the UK aimed at decarbonizing the Bacton and Thames Estuary industrial clusters, leveraging the depleted Hewett gas field, which could be operational by 2027.

The project envisages a storage capacity of 6mn mt/yr by 2030 and exceeding 18mn mt/yr in the following years. Eni’s UK subsidiary leads the Bacton Thames Net Zero (BTNZ) Cooperation Agreement, a consortium launched in 2202, which now includes 13 parties.

Eni’s UK applied for a carbon storage appraisal licence for the Hewett area in September 2022.

The UK’s North Sea Transition Authority (NSTA) recently awarded 20 CO2 storage licences to 12 companies and Eni is expected to be among the successful bidders, although this has not yet been confirmed. NSTA will not disclose who the companies are before they accept the offers.