Italian company Eni and France-based Total have signed an agreement wherein Total will use Eni's slurry technology for converting heavy feedstocks.
Under the special license and R&D cooperation agreement, the companies have started working together to evaluate the Eni Slurry Technology (EST) to Total's requirements.
Eni Refining & Marketing and Chemicals portfolio management & supply and licensing executive vice president Giacomo Rispoli said: "After two years of successful operation of the Sannazzaro refinery's EST unit, the first of its kind in the world, a new, proven technology is now commercially available to be assessed as an option for upgrading the bottom of the barrel.
The technology arrives more than 40 years after the existing processes were first developed and is the result of 15 years of R&D and commercial demonstrations.
The EST technology, which is used as a refining process to convert heavy feedstock into lighter components, has been funded by Eni with more than €1.1bn.
The technology was implemented since 2013 at Eni's Sannazzaro refinery located in the Turin-Milan-Genoa industrial triangle, in Italy's Po Valley.
Total Refining & Chemicals Strategy, Development and Research senior vice president Nathalie Brunelle said: "One of the challenges for refining activities is to keep pace, within an economically viable model, with trends in oil markets, especially those resulting from changing legislation and fuel specifications.
"This R&D cooperation project with Eni allows Total to enhance its know-how and expertise, and to have access to another proven technology for bottom of the barrel conversion."
According to Eni, the technology can valorise the exploitation of unconventional crudes and has the capacity to produce gasoline and gasoil without generating coke or fuel oil.
EST is based upon a hydro-conversion process that has been developed through a special catalyst and a current of hydrogen self-produced starting from methane.