Italy’s Eni eyes foray into Indian clean energy space

The company is looking to achieve an installed capacity of 55GW globally by 2050

Utpal Bhaskar
Updated19 Jan 2021, 07:50 AM IST
Eni is upping India presence at a time when US President-elect Joe Biden promises a ‘clean energy revolution’. AFP
Eni is upping India presence at a time when US President-elect Joe Biden promises a ‘clean energy revolution’. AFP

Underpinning the growing focus of global super energy majors on India’ green economy, Italy’s Eni SpA is exploring the feasibility of participating in the world’s largest clean energy programme, said two people aware of the development.

Eni is eyeing gigawatt (GW)-scale investments in India and plans to reach 55GW installed capacity globally by 2050. The Rome-headquartered firm is studying the build quality of projects, players’ profiles, and the market in India.

Also Read | What 2020 did to India’s inequality

Oil giants are aiming to diversify and invest in India’s clean energy programme as the conventional hydrocarbon space undergoes technological disruptions. With a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment, marquee global oil and gas firms, such as French energy giant Total SA, and Malaysia’s state-run oil and gas company Petroliam Nasional Bhd, or Petronas, have already invested in India. Thailand’s PTT Group is looking to acquire a stake in ReNew Power from Goldman Sachs Group.

Queries emailed to an Eni spokesperson late on Sunday remained unanswered.

Eni is firming up its India playbook at a time when US President-elect Joe Biden promises a “clean energy revolution”, by recommitting to the Paris Agreement on the first day of his administration.

“India is the market for renewables. Eni has the wherewithal and can invest on a GW scale. It has been studying the build quality of projects and player profile, and the Indian market,” said one of the two people mentioned above requesting anonymity.

Norway’s Statoil ASA and Equinor ASA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, and Russia’s Rosneft had also shown interest in investing in India’s clean energy sector. Petronas is also looking to invest in Tata Power’s renewable energy infrastructure investment trust (InvIT).

“Eni is aggressively looking at this space here,” said the second person, also seeking anonymity.

Eni is present in 66 countries and had registered hydrocarbon production of 1.871 million barrels oil equivalent per day (mboed) in 2019.

Despite India’s green energy sector facing a myriad of issues, dealmaking has gathered pace with green energy deals getting better valuations than pre-covid levels, as yield-seeking funds and financial investors flush with capital are driving up prices.

Hydrocarbon firms transitioning towards clean energy will help bring in more capital, even as green energy sources are still a small part of their portfolio, experts said. “Pursuant to Paris Climate accord, almost all oil and gas majors across the world are entering the renewable energy sector to support the transition towards cleaner energy. Even Indian oil and gas players are advancing towards it,” said Somesh Kumar, power and utilities leader, EY India.

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First Published:19 Jan 2021, 07:50 AM IST
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