Côte d’Ivoire on Wednesday reported a “major discovery” of oil and natural gas offshore after deepwater exploration by Italian firm Eni.
Energy minister Thomas Camara said the find was estimated at between 1.5 and 2 billion barrels of oil and around 1.8-2.4 trillion cubic feet (51 million cubic metres) of gas.
He said the development would “greatly increase Côte d’Ivoire’s proven reserves in the coming years”.
The 3,445-metre-deep well was drilled about 60 kilometres (40 miles) off the coast in 30 days, Eni said.
The firm added that it would now carry out a further evaluation of the wider potential of the find.
In a 2019 investment worth $185 million, Ivory Coast signed contracts with Eni and French firm Total to explore the possibility of ramping up Ivorian production.
Côte d’Ivoire to date has 51 identified oilfields with four in production, 26 in exploration and the remaining 21 still up for grabs.
In 2014, Total said exploration had shown “very promising” prospects.
Aside from Total and Eni, Britain’s Tullow Oil has also announced significant discoveries of Ivorian offshore oil reserves in recent years.