LONDON (ICIS)--Eni is aiming to deliver €400m ($526m) of additional earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) from its chemicals business by 2015, the Italian energy major said late on Thursday.

The group said it is focused on expanding activities in emerging markets through strategic partnerships and will continue to improve the efficiency of its plants and processes.

"The scenario for basic chemicals in Europe is characterised by increasing pressure on prices," Eni said in its 2012-2015 strategic plan.

"[1]Eni's strategy will be focused on high value-added products [including elastomers, styrenics and resins], with a growth target for sales in this segment of 50%, including the investment in plant conversions," it added.

Among Eni's investments in plant conversions is its Matrica joint venture project with bioplastics producer Novamont, a biorefinery at the Porto Torres petrochemical facility in Italy.

Paolo Scaroni, CEO of Eni, said his group plans to make €59.6bn of investments over the 2012-2015 period, with over 75% of investments related to upstream activities.

Eni is also relaunching targets for cost reduction. Scaroni said that in the four-year plan, €1.6bn of savings will be achieved through "a further streamlining of logistics and downstream operations, as well as increased labour efficiencies."

In the group's exploration and production business, the group aims to raise its average annual production growth target to over 3% in the 2012-2015 period, based on a scenario of higher oil prices ($90/bbl in 2012 and 2013 and $85/bbl in 2014 and 2015).

In its gas and power segment, Eni is targeting an increase in sales to European business and retail customers of 18% and 28% respectively for 2015, following a gradual improvement in demand in the medium-to-long term, driven by economic recovery.

Eni's refining and marketing business demand is expected to be stable or declining for the duration of the strategic plan due to persistent over-capacity in refining around the world, and in the Mediterranean basin in particular, it said. However, Eni is still targeting an EBIT improvement of €550m for 2015 within the segment.

($1 = €0.76)


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(Originally published March 16, 2012, in Chemical News & Intelligence.)