Eni CEO: 'You have to give energy but a different kind of energy'

Key Points
  • Descalzi emphasized the need for both a strong technological offer and a focus on the environment.
  • On the sustainability front, Eni says it wants zero upstream emissions by the year 2030. 
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The CEO of Italian oil and gas firm Eni has stressed the importance of both technology and the environment to the energy industry.

Speaking to CNBC's Hadley Gamble and Dan Murphy at the World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi Monday, Claudio Descalzi was asked whether there were still opportunities to improve the cost-out in the current environment, where Brent is trading at just under $62 a barrel.

"There are more opportunities, clearly now, than before because with the low price all the countries want to attract investors so … they need to invest," he said.

Investment was, however, not enough, with Descalzi emphasizing the need for both a strong technological offer and a focus on the environment.

"You have to give energy but a different kind of energy," he said, referencing low carbon dioxide energy, the circular economy and hybrid renewables with gas solutions.

"There are a lot of opportunities because there are different doors that you can open when there is a downturn, but in any case, everybody wants to develop that because we need the energy and … energy consumption is growing, it's not going down."

Global energy demand increased by 2.3% in 2018, according to figures from the International Energy Agency earlier this year.

In June 2014, Brent crude hit $115 a barrel before global oversupply saw prices fall. Today, the oil market is facing a resurgent U.S. shale oil industry that continues to add supply to the market. Additionally, geopolitical uncertainties, most notably a protracted trade dispute between the U.S. and China, could upset the demand outlook.

Back on the sustainability front, Eni says it wants zero upstream emissions by the year 2030 and 1.6 gigawatts of renewable energy projects by 2022.

In November 2018, the firm, alongside Algeria's state-owned Sonatrach, inaugurated a 10-megawatt solar plant used to provide clean energy to an oil field in the country.