Italian oil and gas company Eni has announced it would be moving forward with its plan to convert its Livorno facility into a bio-refinery to produce hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO).

The project would include the construction of three new facilities for the production of HVO: a biogenic feedstock pre-treatment unit; a 500,000 tonnes/year Ecofining plant; and a facility to produce hydrogen from methane gas, Eni said on 29 January.

First announced in October 2022 and followed by an application for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in November that year, the project was still awaiting regulatory approval.

The conversion of the Livorno industrial site followed conversions of two other Eni plants in Porto Marghera (2014) and Gela (2019).

Eni said it aimed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and increase its bio-refining capacity from the current 1.65M tonnes/year to more than 5M tonnes/year by 2030.

Alongside the Livorno refinery’s conversion, the company said it had stopped importing crude oil and had started shutting down the facility’s lubricant production lines.

Preparatory work for the three new bio-refining facilities had started, with construction expected to begin following regulatory approval, the company said.

Scheduled for completion by 2026, Eni said the plants would process a range of biogenic feedstocks – mainly vegetable waste and residue – to produce HVO diesel, HVO naphtha and bio-liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Eni, through its subsidiary Enilive, is a leading HVO producer in Europe and globally.