Italian oil and gas company Eni has signed an agreement with the Republic of the Congo on the joint development of the biofuels sector in the country, Eni announced on 4 October.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Eni and the Congolese government set the framework for the industrial scale production of castor oil, to provide feedstock for Eni’s bio-refinery system, the company said.

Due to begin this month, the pilot stage would involve castor bean planting on over 200ha of land, according to the statement, with the industrial phase expected to cover 150,000ha.

Eni, which has been active in Congo for over 50 years, said the MoU opened up a new area of activity for the company in the country, in support of the Congolese National Development Plan for Agriculture 2018/2022, and also built on its commitment to contribute to the decarbonisation of Africa’s energy sector.