Leading Italian energy company Eni is planning to stop using palm oil and its derivative PFAD by 2023, World Markets reported on 15 May.

The oil and gas company said the move was part of its wider decarbonisation proposals within its 2020/23 strategic plan. It said that it planned to stop using palm oil and palm fatty acid distillate – a residue from the palm-oil refining process – to make its Eni Diesel+ fuel by the end of 2023.

Eni Diesel+ comprises 15% hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), which it currently produces using palm oil and waste feedstocks such as used cooking oil.

The company is also planning to increase its capacity to make fuel from biomass or raw materials.

“This is a step in the right direction to protect the world’s remaining rainforests, our climate and orangutans,” said Cristina Mestre, biofuels manager at Transport & Environment, a European research and advocacy group.

Eni operates two biorefineries in Venice and Gela, with a combined HVO production of around 1M tonnes/year.

The EU announced last year that it was phasing out palm oil-based biofuels due to deforestation concerns. Under the EU Delegated Regulation Act, palm oil has been classified as a high-risk indirect land use change (ILUC) biofuel feedstock, the use of which will be capped at 2019 levels until 2023, and phased out to zero by 2030.