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Eni-Novamont announce an agreement for the relaunch of the Italian chemical industry

Eni-Novamont announce an agreement for the relaunch of the Italian chemical industry

Rome, May 26, 2011 – Yesterday Eni and Novamont Spa signed a joint venture that, under the banner of Green Chemistry, will relaunch one of the key areas of research and innovation of the Italian economy. Present at the signing were Gianni Letta, Undersecretary to the Prime Minister, Stefania Prestigiacomo, Minister of the Environment, Paolo Romani, Minister of Economic Development, Maurizio Sacconi, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Paolo Scaroni, Eni CEO, Catia Bastioli, Novamont CEO and Ugo Cappellacci, President of the Sardinia Region.

The NewCo’s mission will consist in designing, building and managing a new Green Centre at the Porto Torres petrochemical plant - owned by Polimeri Europa/Syndial (Eni).

Under the agreement, Novamont technologies and renewable raw materials will be used to build new production facilities for bio monomers, bio lubricants, bio fillers, bio intermediates/additives for elastomers and bioplastics.

It will be the world's first biorefinery integrated into the local area.

The project aims to exert a positive influence on the entire national chemical industry, starting up a virtuous approach based on technological innovation and sustainability, with significant knock-on effects on local employment. A major innovation of the project will be supply chain integration with the development of local crops.

Particularly important aspects of the project include:

1. full environmental compatibility in all stages of the production cycle, in use and at end-of-life;
2. strategic connection with the local area by specifically selecting and growing local crops which guarantee access to raw materials of agricultural origin, with the reuse of waste a priority;
3. sustainability of the facilities in terms of their size and energy requirements;
4. importance of research and technology in developing new processes and products.

Eni (through Polimeri Europa) and Novamont, via the NewCo, plan to build new €500 million facilities at the "Porto Torres Green Centre".

Novamont's contribution to the NewCo will be to provide its proprietary technologies for the design, building and operation of the new facilities.

Eni will provide the site, the infrastructures and skilled labour. On the development side, it will bring its vast industrial experience and its technical, engineering and commercial skills and expertise.

There will be three stages to the investment in the Porto Torres Green Centre:

1. building of the facilities to produce bio monomers for bioplastics, bio lubricants and bio intermediates/additives for elastomers;
2. building of the facilities to produce bio fillers and bio intermediates/additives for elastomers;
3. building of the stage 1 facilities with greater capacity and a bioplastics plant.

For Polimeri Europa (Eni) the creation of the Green Centre in partnership with Novamont marks a step towards fulfilling a dual objective.

Firstly, that of becoming a leader in green chemistry, i.e. chemistry using renewable raw materials. Mature economies in particular need to tackle climate change and pollution is now acknowledged as a priority concern at all levels of society. A new model of sustainable development, with lesser environmental impact and greater growth prospects, requires a less carbon-intensive economy and more attention to the land and its natural resources.

This makes green chemistry a useful tool in making Eni's chemistry more sustainable and more competitive, and represents the start of a virtuous approach that can look to the future with confidence.

Chemistry using renewable raw materials has value in itself as a business that is complementary (as opposed to alternative) to traditional chemistry; some of the applications, in their environmental performance and/or practical use, offer a clear advantage over what synthetic plastics can offer.

It is with this belief that Eni, via Polimeri Europa, enters this new frontier, with the backing of a first-rate partner in Novamont which has made a name for itself globally as a pioneer and market leader in bioplastics.
Through this strategic alliance between Polimeri Europa and Novamont, Eni believes that it can become a world leader in the bioplastics sector, a 100% Italian leader, which may bring numerous advantages for Italy, not least in economic and social terms.

These objectives are the inspiration for the Eni joint venture with Novamont, due to become operational immediately with the first project to be built in one of Italian chemistry's historically most critical sites: the Porto Torres Petrochemical plant.

This will be the springboard from which Eni will build one of the world's largest and most innovative chemical centres from renewable sources.

What Novamont intends to achieve with Polimeri Europa, represents a new model of system economy involving industry, agriculture, environment and the local economy. This is a plan that will become a reality thanks to Novamont’s courageous decision to focus on research, continuous innovation and environmental competitiveness applying a "life cycle thinking" logic and focusing only on the development of products and systems with genuine benefits in economic terms and for the environment.

Novamont has chosen to face this challenge with Polimeri Europa because it believes that the union of a strong commitment to innovation and research of new materials from renewable sources and a long and recognized experience in the international chemical industry can successfully create an Italian case-study of global significance. We are, in fact, facing a new cycle for the chemical industry: the scarcity of energy resources, climate change, the problems facing agriculture are all phenomena in large part attributable to the effects of a dissipative economic model.

In this context biodegradable and compostable bioplastics may help to solve environmental problems if we succeed in re-designing entire sectors of application, having an impact on the method of producing raw materials, on the vertical integration of entire agro-industrial sectors that are either non-food or offer synergies with food, on the method of using and disposing of products, and if we can devise innovation that broadens the scope of experimentation to the land. Only in this way can bioplastics can become a powerful showcase demonstrating the importance of sustainable development and cultural growth, as well as an example for other sectors. This is the challenge taken up by Novamont and Polimeri Europa with their model for "Bio-refinery integrated in the local area".

Switchboard: +39.0659821

Novamont press contacts:
Carl Byoir&Associates – 02.3314593
Francesca De Sanctis –
Sabina Lenaz

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