Eni recently presented its 20112014 strategic plan to the financial community in London. In the new plan, Eni confirms the consolidation of its leadership in the Italian and European gas markets and a cost-reduction program aimed at recovering profitability in refining and marketing. The gas market scenario over the plan period will be characterized by a growth in European consumption, as well as by a rapid rise in demand from emerging markets; both factors will contribute to absorb the oversupply in Europe.
Enis strategy in refining and marketing is aimed at increasing operational efficiency, thereby reducing fixed and variable costs by 200 million by 2014. In refining, Eni will increase the flexibility of the plants and the yield in middle distillates, exploiting its proprietary technologies. In marketing, Eni plans to improve results by rebranding its distribution network, growing in key European markets and the expansion of non-oil activities.
In the US Congress, several bills have been introduced that seek to strip ethanol tax credits from the federal budget. These various pieces of legislation, introduced by several influential US lawmakers, aim to either allow the tax credits for ethanol to expire or to immediately repeal them outright. Pressure is also coming from broad coalitions (including one campaign that has drawn more than 100 varied industry groups together) to repeal the volumetric ethanol excise tax credit, and resist ethanol industry calls for spending on infrastructure. A recent Government Accountability Office report identifying duplicative federal programs that lawmakers say is providing a roadmap for cutting spending, noted that the ethanol tax credit is unnecessary because of the Renewable Fuels Standard implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the report, eliminating these programs could reduce federal revenue losses by up to $5.7 billion annually.
Foster Wheeler AGs Global Engineering and Construction Group has been awarded a contract by Cynar Plc to provide basic process engineering design services for a 6,000-tpy plant to convert non-recyclable waste plastics into liquid fuels, primarily diesel. The plant will use Cynars pyrolysis technology, supplemented with Foster Wheelers refining knowledge to produce liquid fuels. The basic design package is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2011. The demonstration plant is located in Portlaoise, Ireland. Foster Wheeler has been working with Cynar over the past year to improve the quality of the fuel produced there.
Last month, an undertaking began to allow more than 3,000 European polypropylene (PP) processors the opportunity to provide extensive feedback to their resin suppliers regarding product and service offerings. The effort is being spearheaded by global market research firm Townsend Solutions. The 2011 Europe Polypropylene Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty Survey (CLASS) is sponsored by major polymer suppliers including Borealis, INEOS, LyondellBasell and SABIC. The CLASS programs offer an independent, third-party perspective and insight into the needs and expectations of the plastic processing community. CLASS will explore plastic processors changing priorities and their satisfaction with the performance of resin suppliers on more than 15 key issues ranging from product performance to sustainability.
Last year, BASF reduced specific greenhouse gas emissions by 29% when compared with 2002 emissions. This means that the company reached its emissions goal pathway for 2020 for the first time. A report issued in March details the achievement of this climate protection goal and further explains BASFs goals in the realms of economic, ecological and social aspects. It documents BASFs entrepreneurial performance and shows how sustainability contributes to corporate success.
Next-gen oil sands
A next generation of oil sands development in Canada is set to emerge amid rising world demand for energy resources, according to Imperial Oil CEO Bruce March. Mr. Marchs remarks, in which he said that Canadas 170 billion barrels of recoverable oil sands reserves are needed to help provide the energy required to fuel improving living standards throughout the developing world, were captured during last months annual IHS CERA executive conference in Houston, Texas.
Oil sands investments are now in a period of recovery, driven by resurgent world demand for energy resources and by a positive long-term outlook for energy, said Mr. March.
Oil sands development also represents an important economic opportunity for Canada and the US in terms of energy security, job creation and economic activity. Mr. March said that oil sands development will be a key component of the US economy, and could generate 340,000 new US jobs plus 590,000 jobs in Canada over the next 25 years.
While recognizing there are important environmental considerations from oil sands development, positive progress as a result of new technology is being achieved, Mr. March said, citing the Kearl project in northern Alberta as a next-generation oil sands facility. The project, currently under construction, is scheduled for startup in late 2012.
Mr. March said that Kearl tailings will be smaller, mined land will be reclaimed faster, and greater quantities of water will be recycled. Kearl will also adopt technologies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.
The September IHS CERA study indicates that our Kearl project will result in life-cycle greenhouse-gas emissions no greater than the average of oil refined in the US, Mr. March said. The oil sands industry has a positive story to tell and North Americans shouldnt have to choose between energy security, economic well-being and a cleaner environment. HP