Eni to Shutter Livorno Base Oil Plant


Eni to Shutter Livorno Base Oil Plant
Company logo on side of Eni headquarters building in Rome, Italy. © MyVideoimage.com

Italian refiner Eni stated Monday that the base oil plant at its Livorno, Italy, fuels refinery will close permanently when the site converts to refining plant oils.

The fate of the base oil plant was confirmed as the company announced it is proceeding to convert the overall refinery, an initiative first floated in 2022. Eni said it is now preparing the site for construction, which will begin once it obtains regulatory approval.

The conversion is expected to be completed and production of renewable products to begin by 2026, but the company said it has already stopped importing crude oil for the refinery to process and begun to shut down the lubricants production line and a topping unit. It did not say precisely when base oil production will cease.

The base oil plant is one of the largest in Italy, with capacity to make 600,000 metric tons per year of API Group I oils and 35,000 t/y of Group II.

The Livorno refinery will be the third that Eni converts as part of its strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The others, located in Venice’s Marghera port and the city of Gela on Sicily, did not include base oil plants.

Refineries processing plant oils are able to produce road and aviation fuels and renewable replacements for some other petroleum products, but to date the production of base oils has not been replicated.

Eni and traders confirmed last week that the Livorno base oil plant was operating and that base oils were being supplied in significant quantities.

“Lube base oil units are in operation. The production will follow market request and relevant economics,” Eni told Lube Report recently.

“In line with the strategic decision to convert the Livorno refinery and future-proofing the site in terms of production and employment, Eni has stopped importing crude oil and initiated the shutdown of the lubricants production lines and topping plant,” the company said.

The term “topping” refers to a part of the standard refining process that divides different cuts according to their weight and density.

The final investment decision has taken some time and Eni said the conversion still needs to secure a series of permits. The company’s chief executive, Claudio Descalzi, said in March 2022 that the company had been delayed seeking permits.

The site of the refinery will be converted to three bio-refining plants that will process various biogenic feedstocks, mainly vegetable waste and residue, to produce diesel, naphtha and bio-liquid propane gas.

Eni’s subsidiary Enilive is Europe’s second-largest producer of hydrogenated biofuels and the third-largest in the world.