2010 AEFJN Action - Eni

Eni in Congo: a relevant example of the necessity to take care of current EU biofuel investments in Africa.


1. What happens?

The company Eni, one of the top ten energy companies in the world and still 30% owned by the Italian state, has signed a contract in May 2008 with the Government of the Republic of Congo for the production of biofuels for export. Eni is undertaking a new multi-billion dollar investment in Congo in developing tar sands, oil palm for food and bio-diesel and gas-fuelled electricity. This would be the first tar sands project in Africa and the agro-fuels project would be one of the largest on the continent.


The production of biofuels from oil palm requires cutting 70,000 ha of tropical forest. Eni, however, "currently ranked as the world’s most “sustainable” oil and gas company," has also begin to extract oil on 1790 km2 of land with the same techniques that have been proved highly polluting in Canada (Alberta ). Additionally, Congo’s record on environmental and human rights protection and on transparent management of the country’s natural resources is extremely poor.


According to Brice Mackosso of the Justice and Peace Commission of Pointe-Noire in the Congo, "the local population already suffering from the impacts of oil development has not been properly consulted on new projects. This contradicts the company’s own environmental and human rights policies (‘Codice Etico’ in www.eni.it), and violates the government’s duty to protect its citizens. This commission CDJP (Commission Diocésain Justice et Paix) of Pointe Noire is very involved in the tar sand project. Currently a couple of research, sensibilisation and lobby activities have been implemented by them. Furthermore CDJP, supported by Misereor, has established since November 2008 a regular dialog platform with ENI-Congo concerning the oil/tar sands projet and communities’ problems. They obtained in April 2010, an agreement of partnership with ENO-Congo to prepare further dialogues on monitoring on impacts of oil exploitation on socio-economic rights of communities. This is the first step.


In November 2009, Heinrich Boll Fund and its partners in Congo and in Europe have published a report which reveals that investments planned by Eni in Congo are not in line with the development of sustainable energy sources. The report notes that, according to Eni's own estimates, the selected area is composed of 50-70% of rainforest and other areas which are very fragile environmentally. Moreover, research has revealed an almost total lack of public awareness of the investments in Congo. "These investments undermine the reputation of Eni in ecology. They also raise the environmental and social costs of pursuing high-carbon and export-oriented energy projects - particularly in ecologically sensitive areas with a low level of governance, "said Barbara Unmüssig the President Heinrich Boll Foundation.


Amnesty International has pointed Eni for its actions that go against human rights and sustainable management of the environment in oil exploitation in Nigeria.

Congolese and international civil society groups are now calling for a halt to the tar sands and palm oil projects and for Eni to overhaul its environmental management processes and its community engagement in Congo.



a. Republic of Congo:

Back action made by Congolese

b. Italy:

Address the Italian Government (shareholder) on the activities of the Eni

Aks to Mr. Paolo Scaroni, Eni CEO, he explains which coherence between the code of ethics of Eni and Eni operation in Congo.

c. At the European Union level:

Address Italian MEPs

Address the EC on the monitoring of impacts of EU companies investments in biofuels

Advocate for human rights protection in economic agreements


Advocating a more global level members of the European Parliament and the European Commission for legislation that will force European companies to produce and import of biofuels in Italy and Europe that are truly sustainable production and are not threatening the rights to food and decent living conditions of affected populations and to which our governments are committed.


To read more:

The activities of Eni in Congo-Brazzaville

The report and Executive Summary made by CSOs organisations: Energy Futures? Eni´s Investment in Tar Sands and Palm Oil in the Congo Basin published by Heinrich Böll Stiftung

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