Chinese firm POLY-GCL Petroleum Group Holdings has finished drilling two appraisal wells in Ethiopia’s southeast and will soon know the size of gas deposits there, a senior Ethiopian official said, as Reuters reported.

Ethiopia says the wells in the Calub and Hilala fields in the Ogaden Basin should show deposits of 4.7 tcf of liquid natural gas (LNG) and 13.6m barrels of associated liquids.

The project involves developing the fields and building a pipeline from landlocked Ethiopia to the coast of neighboring Djibouti, where it will build an LNG plant and export terminal, StandardDigital reported.

State Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas, Wakgari Furi, said that the gas production might start already in 2016 following the currently conducted tests on the reservoir.

POLY-GCL, a joint venture between state-owned China POLY Group Corporation and privately owned Hong Kong-based Golden Concord Group, plans to drill five wells in Ethiopia’s southeast, including three wildcat exploration wells.

Foreign firms have acquired licenses to explore in more than 40 blocks in Ethiopia over the past four years, mostly in the southeast near Somalia. This way Africa’s eastern seaboard could soon become a major global LNG producer, with other planned projects based on big gas finds made in Tanzania and Mozambique.