Eni SPA has approved its previously proposed project to convert its existing 84,000-b/d conventional crude oil refinery in Livorno, Tuscany, on Italy’s northwestern coast, into what will become the country’s third biorefinery following the transformation (OGJ Online, Oct. 18, 2022).
As part of the decision to move forward with the conversion project, Eni has stopped importing crude oil and initiated the shutdown of the Livorno refinery’s lubricants production lines and topping plant, the operator said on Jan. 29.
With preparatory work for construction of three new biorefining plants at the site now under way, Eni said it will begin formal construction following final regulatory approvals for anticipated completion and commissioning of the refinery’s transformation by 2026.
Once in operation, the three new plants will process various biogenic feedstocks—mainly vegetable waste and residue—to produce hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) diesel, HVO naphtha, and bio-LPG, according to the operator.
As phased shuttering of the Livorno’s conventional refining operations progresses, Eni will guarantee fuel distribution in the area via imports of finished and semi-finished products, the company said.
The planned Livorno biorefinery will become Eni’s third refinery-to-renewables location following transformations of its former 80,000-b/d Venice refinery at Porto Marghera, Italy, and 105,000-b/d Gela refinery on the southern coast of Sicily into biorefineries in 2014 and 2019, respectively (OGJ Online, Jan. 16, 2015; Feb. 18, 2014).
Confirmation of the Livorno transformation follows the operator’s recent announcement that it has also formed an official partnership with LG Chem Ltd. to proceed with joint development of a proposed grassroots biorefinery to be built at LG Chem’s integrated petrochemical complex in Daesan, Chungcheong Province, South Korea, 80 km southwest of Seoul (OGJ Online, Jan. 19, 2024).
The Livorno conversion forms part of Eni's broader decarbonization strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in line with the global energy transition, as well as targets increasing current 1.65-million tonne/year (tpy) biorefining capacity of its system to more than 5 million tpy by 2030.
Intended to help secure the site’s future as a competitive production and employment hub, the Livorno transformation project will involve construction of three new plants, including:
- A biogenic feedstock pretreatment unit to transform waste raw materials, residues, and waste resulting from the processing of vegetable products and oils from crops that do not compete with the food chain into renewable feedstock.
- A 500,000-tpy plant for production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) based on the Eni-Honeywell UOP LLC codeveloped proprietary Ecofining technology for flexible processing of 100% biofeedstocks.
- A plant for producing hydrogen from methane gas.
Additional biorefining expansions
In late 2023, Eni told investors it will also complete an expansion at its Venice biorefinery in 2024 to lift the site capacity to 560,000 tpy from its current 360,000 tpy with the addition of a new steam reformer, as well as an upgrade of the site’s Ecofining technology (OGJ Online, Nov. 6, 2023).
A separate project to enhance the Venice biorefinery’s flexibility to process a wider array of biomass feedstocks was also due for commissioning by yearend 2023, with Phase 2 of that project to be completed in 2027.
Additional projects involving implementation of new degumming sections in renewable feedstock pretreatment units to expand HVO diesel and SAF production were also under way in 2023 at the Venice and Gela biorefineries, both of which are scheduled for startup between 2024-25.
The Gela project will increase that biorefinery’s production capacity by 40,000 tpy to 740,000 tpy, the operator said.
Eni also previously confirmed the Gela biorefinery will begin producing SAF by third-quarter 2024.