Descalzi: the awakening of the economy? The signs are already there. Sustainability will help restart


Hundreds of thousands of victims, millions of infected. It is a world that previously stopped and now tries to start again, albeit with very reduced speed. «The number of deaths due to Covid-19, the violence with which the pandemic hit the communities was so breathtaking. Despite this, I would say that we have in us as citizens, as businesses, as a country the strength necessary to overcome this moment. Also because now more than ever we have Europe and Italy convinced that this crisis should not be wasted “. Thinking of being optimistic in such tragic weeks is not possible. But in Claudio Descalzi’s voice we can see the determination of the head of the company: «The last ten years have not been easy but we have been able to react. The double crisis of 2008 and 2010 and the consequent recessions seem distant and even simple. Getting out of it won’t be easy, but nothing has been lately. Covid-19 taught us how important everyone’s small gestures are. And in Italy we have done very well, from doctors to authorities, from citizens to businesses. In a large company everything is made of small behaviors but everything has to be planned ». All the more if it is a group that, like Eni, has in its history and in its DNA guaranteeing energy for the country and doing it especially in times of crisis. And who is preparing to “change clothes”. A new organization born of that environmental revolution, of international geopolitical upheavals and of the volatility of oil prices from which to become independent, of changes initiated in 2014 and in turn at the origin of that “flexibility without which dramatic crises such as Covid-19 they could not be overcome ». This is how Descalzi starts his third term at the head of Eni.

Do you start over?
«Fortunately no, it is a transition that began in 2014 and which in recent weeks will lead us to be a unique company on the world scene. Don’t you see what’s going on in the world? ”

Yes unfortunately.
«The price in human lives that we are paying is very high. And we also owe them the need to push the recovery. Avoid the economic and social crisis “.

How deep is this crisis?
«I give you two numbers: between March and April, mobility saw reductions of 90% during the weekend and 70% during the week. For industry, the stop signified a 20-25% reduction in energy consumption. A lot but recoverable ».

And now?
“China has resumed traveling at 80-85% of its capacity. France and Germany have had a slowdown similar to the Italian one. But there is good news. “

Tell us now …
“We thought that the economic awakening would come at the end of June, we are already seeing a comforting recovery. The oil price of around $ 40 a barrel is an indicator. However, a level that follows the low of $ 19. We were not wrong when in 2014 we decided to change our strategy aiming to cushion the effects of volatility, the up and down prices as much as possible. Because, you see, energy for a country like ours but also for Europe is at the heart of the economy “.

Yet it is not talked about. In Italy the debate is on infrastructure, on digital …
“It’s also normal, it’s those investments that help recovery. But they need energy, in large quantities, at competitive costs and respecting the environment, indeed aiming at its improvement “.

Everyone says so …
«Yes, but we are the only ones who have started such a radical transformation. And we can do it because we started in 2014 when in the Christmas speech to employees I launched the first wave of change on green issues which has meant 4 billion investments in the last six years. But just think of the waste. ”

Waste? Because?
«In 2015 we imagined that in a country that does not produce primary resources it would have been a plus to transform urban waste into decarbonised fuel oil into biofuel. As well as plastics, complex polymers, in hydrogen or methanol. If we are going to have plants to absorb organic waste from 6 million people by transforming them, it is because we anticipated the changes ».

It is easy to say decarbonised products, without the harmful C02, what does this mean in concrete terms?
«They are the so-called blue products, blue electricity, blue hydrogen, or the gas that we will be able to produce by capturing the C02 and storing it in depleted fields. What we have been doing with gas for 70 years and that Norway has been doing with C02 for 10 years. It is about providing products such as decarbonised biomethane that comes from agricultural biogas, and then all the part of digital biomass, animal fats instead of oil “.

But excuse me is not better to rely directly on renewable sources, such as sun, water, wind? «There are also those in Eni. But these are sources that currently have low efficiency. They are intermittent and therefore unable to satisfy the great hunger for energy that all developed and developing countries need. This is why we need a platform that goes from biorefineries to green and blue products. ”

This so far …
«And now let’s change again. If we want how we are committed to cutting net absolute emissions by 80% by 2050, we need a different suit. ”

And what is there under the dress?
“There is the fact that we would be ever closer to customers, to the contracted 9 million, destined to exceed the 20 million, to whom we provide services, and to that 25% of the retail market that relies on Eni’s products for mobility”.

What happens to research?
«Research and exploration will remain, but by 2025 production will progressively decrease, with an increasing incidence of natural gas, the cleanest of fossil sources, and increasingly less than oil. For this reason we have created two divisions: the first, natural resources, will take care of making the gas and oil portfolio more sustainable, energy efficiency and technologies for the capture and removal of C02. The second: energy evolution, which will be closest to customers, the network that will deal with the transformation and sale of increasingly organic, blue and green products. Products for a European and world market but also intended to make Italy increasingly autonomous and independent from abroad “.

Will it be enough to avoid actions like that of the BP which sends home 10,000 people?
«In our programs, yes. They are the skills, knowledge, current knowledge and to be created, in a nutshell, the people who make Eni. It is they who made the change possible. And we don’t want to give up ».

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