Oil&nonOil: technologies to combat fuel fraud. The sector takes a look at blockchain
Technological innovation to combat illegal fuel trafficking: this was the topic up for discussion today at Veronafiere within the scope of the 16th Oil&nonOil event during the conference “The role of new technologies to safeguard fuels”
Introducing the topic, Giuseppe Devito, Director of Assocostieri, acknowledged “progress” achieved in the sector “which is acting as a trail blazer”. The tools mentioned include electronic invoicing, the trader procedure and the e-Das, the simplified accompanying electronic format document. The path towards the emission targets set for 2050, however, risks “lacking direction” and carrying too much “baggage”, where the funds in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), “will not allow us to complete the whole trip.”
However, there are several examples of technology applied to transport, including the “Legality & CaloZero”: project – a tanker truck completely sealed with optical fibre and equipped with sensors. This system allows, through software, analysis of the sequence of operations and certify that they have been carried out in a compliant manner. This aspect was outlined by Natalino Mori, President of Transadriatico, who noted, however, that “the supply chain has three components: depot, tanker truck and destination site” and that conformity certification has “grey areas.”
On the other hand, the new blockchain frontier was discussed by William Nonnis, full stack & blockchain developer of the Ministry of Defence and Enea. Despite the possibilities offered by this technology – thanks to its distribution, transparency and immutability features – there is, however, some “confusion between digitization and digital transformation” or rather a cultural gap. “The blockchain can help but it is not a panacea. It can only be applied in certain sectors,” Nonnis pointed out. The European Union – he recalled – has indicated five transformations: technology, economy, regulations, standards and culture. In reality, the latter aspect is the most important, yet only 10% of NRP funds is focused on training, so some rethinking is needed. Furthermore, “Italy does not own critical infrastructures” and there are regulatory issues, since “digital means there are no more borders.”
The conference also focused on and analysed the factors that prompt illegality. Eugenio Sbariggia, head of tax legislation of Unione energie per la Mobilità (Unem), indicated one of them above all: “as long as taxation is so high, the problem will always persist”. We are talking about “a market that in 2019 generated revenue of 40 billion euros, about 26 in excise duties and about 13 in VAT” he pointed out.
Speaking of taxation, Marco Dreosto, member of the European Parliament Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, highlighted a broader problem: a lack of uniformity, “especially in cross-border situations”, which also has other implications, including the “dumping fuel costs between different states.”
The inadequacy of regulations as regards the liberalization process was the focus for lawyer Bonaventura Sorrentino, (partner of the law and tax firm Sorrentino Pasca Toma. In his opinion, digital tools are beginning to prove their validity in the fight against fraud but “further efforts by legislators are needed and financial authorities must be given clear operational tools that leave no grey areas or gaps in interpretation.”