The Government of Mozambique has approved Italian oil and gas company Eni’s plan to develop the Coral discovery located in the Area 4 permit.

With the approval in place, the firm will commence with first phase of development of 5 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Coral discovery located in water more than 2000m deep and approximately 80km offshore of the Palma bay in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

The work involves drilling and completion of six subsea wells as well as construction and installation of a technologically advanced 3.4 MTPA Floating LNG facility.

Eni said that the discovery proved the existence of a high quality field of Eocenic age with excellent productivity.

According to the company’s estimates, the discovery contains around 16 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas in place, wholly located in Area 4.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said: "Today’s approval of the Coral Plan of Development is a historical milestone for the development of our discovery of 85 TCF of gas in the Rovuma Basin.

"It is a fundamental step to progress toward the final investment decision of our project which envisages the installation of the first newly built Floating LNG facility in Africa and one of the first in the world."

Eni operates the Area 4 with a 50% indirect interest, through Eni East Africa (EEA). The latter firm has 70% stake in Area 4.

Other partners include Galp Energia, Kogas and Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH) each holding 10% stake.

Additionally, CNPC, through Eni East Africa, holds 20% indirect interest in Area 4.

Eni and its partners are also planning to develop gas reserve base of the Mamba discovery.