Never mind the recession, never mind the pressure to reduce carbon emissions

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Italian oil and gas giant, Eni has announced that the only viable energy source for the future is solar, admitting hydrocarbon defeat and having complete disregard for any other type of renewable.

Speaking in an interview on the BBC’s HARDtalk program Eni’s chief executive, Paolo Scaroni said the company looked ahead to a future where fossil fuel is not driving transportation, yet Eni is still pushing to increase oil reserves and oil production.

Further grilling on this aspect revealed that the company is investing €120 million in the research and development (R&D) of solar power over a period of four years (2008-2011). Scaroni said that, “the alternative energy which we can produce today (is) not the solution” and that the, “Solar technology we have today is a kind of obsolete technology dated back 70 to 80 years…(it) is not the technology we are looking for”.

HARDtalk hit back at Eni’s solar proposals saying that the €120 million is not a sizeable enough investment to prove true commitment to renewable energy sources, comparing the company to rival BP, that has invested $1 billion in renewable energy sources in 2009 alone. Interviewer, Stephen Sackur, pointed out that Eni’s investment in renewable energy looks pretty poor when the fact that the company’s €1.76 billion profit for the first quarter of 2009 is considered.

The HARDtalk interview highlights that Eni has put all of its renewable eggs into one basket and seems to be sitting back in the hope that a more profit-mounting technology will emerge. Untill then, the oil company seems set on continuing to strongly invest in the oil market.

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