KENYA – The Italian oil company Eni is set to secure a US$210 million loan to enhance its biofuel production capabilities in Kenya, as the global demand for biofuels will rise significantly in the coming years. 

This strategic investment will support Eni’s efforts to scale up its operations and contribute to the growing biofuels market. It is anticipated to see substantial growth driven by international policies and market demands.

The loan, announced in a press release on May 17, will be partially financed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which will provide 60% of the funds (approximately US$135 million). The remaining amount will be sourced from the Italian Climate Fund. 

This financial backing will be pivotal in expanding Eni’s biofuel production infrastructure and increasing the cultivation and processing of oilseeds used in biofuel production.

Expansion plans and local impact

Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi, detailed the ambitious plans to scale oilseed production from 44,000 tonnes to 500,000 tonnes annually. 

To achieve this, the company aims to increase the number of farmers in its local supply network to 200,000 over the next five years. 

This expansion will boost production and significantly impact the local agricultural sector by providing many farmers with new opportunities and income streams.

The financial support will facilitate the construction of new factories to enhance Eni’s processing capacity. 

Eni operates a plant in Wote, Makueni County, which has been operational since 2022. This facility processes castor, croton, and cottonseed crops and has a processing capacity of 15,000 tonnes of oilseeds per year. 

The new investment will enable Eni to build additional facilities and scale up its production to meet the increasing demand.

The initiative aligns with broader market trends and policy targets set by international bodies. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), biofuel consumption is expected to grow by 20% annually until 2028. 

This growth is largely driven by policies like the European Union’s objective to achieve 14% biofuel usage in transportation by 2030.

Eni’s increased production capacity will help meet global demand and support Kenya’s economic development through job creation and enhanced agricultural productivity.

With substantial IFC and Italian Climate Fund backing, Eni seeks to scale up its operations, increase oilseed production, and contribute to the global biofuel market.

For all the latest grains industry news from Africa, the Middle East, and the World, subscribe to our weekly NEWSLETTERS, follow us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.