The Italian energy company Eni has discovered gas at an offshore zone in Congo. The company announced that the exploration prospect of Nkala Marine, located in Marine XII block, found sufficient reserves of gas and crude oil.

According to the preliminary estimates, the block has potential of 250-350m barrels of oil equivalent and over 300,000 cub m of gas per day.

Together with its joint venture partners, Eni will start studies for the prospect’s commercial development, which is framed in the context of optimized exploitation of the oil and gas discoveries in the Marine XII permit.

The company will be starting the evaluation of Nkala Marine through new delineation wells, with active production expected to begin in 2017.

Eni, through its subsidiary Eni Congo, is the operator of Marine XII block with a 65% stake. The other partners are New Age, with a 25% stake, and the Congolese state company Societé Nationale des Pétroles du Congo (SNPC), with a 10% stake.

The Italian company has been present in Congo since 1968 and its current production in the country is about 110,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.