The Italian energy group Eni has announced the discovery of 2 billion barrels of oil in the offshore Ivory Coast.
The discovery follows a $185 million investment in oil exploration by two foreign companies – Eni and France’s Total.
According to preliminary estimates, Eni’s deepwater exploration led to the discovery at 3,445 meters (11,300 feet) deep of a field that could contain as many as two billion barrels of oil and 51 million cubic meters of natural gas.
Thomas Camara, the Ivorian Energy Minister said the discovery would “greatly increase Ivory Coast’s proven reserves in the coming years.”
Ivory Coast has 51 identified oil fields. Of these, only four are in production while 26 remain in exploration and 21 are untapped.
Jason Kenney, an energy analyst at Santander, described the find as “really big”, noting that it “could be good news for Eni if it decides to monetize its stake further down the road.”
Eni is one of the largest foreign oil and gas producers operating in Africa.
The company has valuable assets in Angola, Libya and Nigeria. It is also active in Egypt and Mozambique.
In 2014, Total said exploration had shown “very promising” prospects.
Besides Total and Eni, British oil company Tullow Oil has made significant discoveries of offshore oil reserves off Ivory Coast recently.
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