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Eni aims to cut carbon emissions from upstream business to net zero by 2030

Italy's state-controlled Eni SpA plans to cut net carbon emissions in its upstream business to zero by 2030 and to launch a share buyback program this year.

At its Investor Day on March 15, the oil and gas major announced a new plan to build out its renewable business and reach more than 20 million tons per year of CO2 sequestration by 2030.

"We have to reduce CO2 emission by 45% in order to limit the growth of global temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius, in accordance with the Paris Agreement's goal. Tackling this dual challenge is a strategic priority for our board and a responsible action to all our stakeholders and environment," Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi told investors.

The oil industry has been pressed by investor activists of late to outline and publish emissions reductions targets aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Eni will spend €1 billion in the next four years to help achieve its net zero emissions target by 2030.

Like many of its its competitors, including Royal Dutch Shell PLC, which is looking to become the largest electricity company in the world by 2035, Eni hopes to develop a clean power business amid the ongoing transition to a low carbon world.

Eni will spend €1.4 billion from 2019-2022 to grow its renewable energy capacity.

"In renewables, we will focus on the development of new solar and wind capacity with a target of more than 10 gigawatts. And we will expand our biofuel capacity, focusing on the second and third-generation feedstocks," Descalzi added.

Returning value to shareholders remains a priority

The Italian oil and gas supermajor also announced a four-year share buyback program that will include an allocation of up to €400 million this year with Brent crude oil prices between $60 per barrel and $65/bbl. The share repurchase program will increase to €800 million if Brent prices top $65/bbl.

After three years of sluggish oil prices, oil companies have been under pressure in the last year or so to return shareholder value in the form of buybacks and dividend increases.

Eni will also increase its 2019 dividend by 3.6% on the year to 86 euro cents per share.