The logo of Italian energy company Eni is seen at an Agip gas station in Lugano (Reuters)
Italian oil company Eni announced on Wednesday that it has made a new gas discovery off the coast of the Egyptian Nile Delta.
Eni, along with contractors British BP and France's Total, has successfully drilled the first exploration well in the North Hammad concession, which Eni operates, the company said in a statement on its website.
In 2015, the Italian oil and gas company was awarded a 37.5 percent share in the North El-Hammad licence block, while BP holds 37.5 percent and Total holds the remaining 25 percent. Exploration by the three companies began in the block three years later.
The new discovery, which is at the Bashrush prospect, is located at a depth of 22 metres, and is 11 km from the coast. It is also close to the Nooros and Baltim South West offshore fields, both of which are also operated by Eni.
The well is a single 152-metre-thick gas column in Messinian age sandstone, and it has "excellent petrophysical properties," the company said, adding that the well will be tested for production.
The three firms will coordinate with Egypt's petroleum authorities to begin studying the development options for the new discovery, with the aim of "fast tracking" production, the statement said.
Eni said it will drill another well, Nidoco NW-1 DIR, this year in the Great Nooros area, located in the Abu Madi West concession.
Eni has been operating in Egypt since 1954 through its subsidiary IEOC, and its current daily production is estimated at 280,000 barrels of oil equivalent.
The Italian company discovered the giant Zohr gas field, the biggest in the Mediterranean, off the Egyptian coast in 2015. The discovery, which holds an estimated reservoir of 30 trillion cubic feet, has drawn the interest of investors to the country's energy sector.