Energy group claims it could potentially be one of the world's largest natural-gas fields
Italian energy group Eni said on Sunday it had discovered potentially one of the world's largest natural-gas fields off the Egyptian coast, predicting the find could help meet Egypt's gas needs for decades to come.
"According to the well and geophysical data available, the field could hold a potential of 30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas in place," Eni said in a statement.
It said the discovery well was located off Egypt's Mediterranean coastline at a depth of 1,450 metres (4,757 ft) with the prospective Zohr field covering an area of about 100 square kilometres (60 square miles).
"Zohr is the largest gas discovery ever made in Egypt and in the Mediterranean Sea and could become one of the world's largest natural-gas finds," it said, adding that it had full concession rights to the area.
The find follows other significant gas discoveries in the Mediterranean in recent years, including by Egypt's neighbour Israel, which look certain to have a dramatic impact on energy supplies in both the Middle East and Europe.
State-controlled Eni, the biggest foreign producer in Africa, has operated in Egypt for more than 60 years through its Egyptian subsidiary IEOC and is one of the main energy producers in the country, with a daily output of 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent.
In June, it signed an energy exploration deal with Egypt's oil ministry worth $2 billion following an MOU signed in March during an investment conference, allowing the Italian major to explore in Sinai, the Gulf of Suez, the Mediterranean and areas in the Nile Delta.
Since Claudio Descalzi took over as CEO last year, Eni has been looking to focus increasingly on the bread and butter job of finding oil and gas.
"This historic discovery will be able to transform the energy scenario of Egypt in which we have been welcomed for over 60 years," said Descalzi, who met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Saturday.