Located 1,450m of water depth, the well has been drilled to a total depth of approximately 13,553ft in the Shorouk Block.

The company said it encountered 2,067ft of hydrocarbon column in a carbonate sequence of Miocene age.

Eni estimates that the field, which spread across an area of about 100km2, expected to have a reserve of about 30 trillion cubic feet of lean gas, and could be one of the largest natural-gas discoveries in the world.

The company plans to use the existing offshore and onshore infrastructures in order to appraise and speed up the development of the gas field.

Upon full development, the field is expected to meet the natural gas demand in Egypt for decades, Eni claimed.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said: "This historic discovery will be able to transform the energy scenario of Egypt in which we have been welcomed for over 60 years.

"The exploration activities are central to our growth strategy: in the last 7 years we have discovered 10 billion barrels of resources and 300 million in the first half of the year, confirming Eni’s leading position in the industry.

"This exploration success acquires an even greater value as it was made in Egypt which is strategic for Eni, and where important synergies with the existing infrastructures can be exploited allowing us a fast production startup."

Eni, through its subsidiary IEOC Production, operates the Shorouk Block with 100% stake.

The company had secured license from Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum and the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) for the block in 2014.

In Egypt, Eni has a daily production capacity of 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent.

Image: Eni discovered 10 billion barrels of resources and 300 million in the first half of 2015. Photo: courtesy of num_skyman/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net.