Eni, together with Algeria’s state-owned oil company Sonatrach, has made a significant oil and gas discovery in the Algeria’s Berkine North Basin.

The discovery located in the Zemlet el Arbi concession in the Algerian desert is anticipated to hold around 140 million barrels of crude oil, according to the preliminary estimates.

Zemlet el Arbi is jointly operated by Eni with a 49% stake, and Sonatrach with 51%.

The partners have drilled the exploratory well on the HDLE exploration prospect, located about 15km from the processing facilities of Bir Rebaa North field.

HDLE-1 encountered light oil in the Triassic sandstones of Trias Argileux Argileux Inferieur (TAGI) formation, confirming 26m of net pay with excellent petrophysical characteristics.

The well has delivered 46.4m3/hr or 7,000 barrels/day of oil and 140,000 m3/day of associated gas, during the production test.

HDLE-1 marks the first well among the new exploration campaign planned for the Berkine North Basin, which comprises drilling of five wells in the prospect.

Eni and Sonatrach intend to appraise with the discovery by drilling of a second well, HDLE-2 in the next month, to determine the potential of the discovery extending in the adjacent Sif Fatima 2 concession.

In addition to the appraisal, the partnership is also planning to advance the production phase of the new discovery, with production planned for the third quarter of 2022.

Eni and Sonatrach said that the new discovery will support their near field and infrastructure-led exploration strategy, allowing a rapid valuation of the new resources.

In December last year, Sonatrach and Eni have signed a new oil contract related to the onshore Berkine basin area, to expand their strategic partnership in Algeria

In the same event, the two companies have also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for collaboration on initiatives that are aimed at energy transition in Algeria.