The discovery of an additional 1.2 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas represents the total of in-place volumes up to approximately 21 tcf in block 2 and the venture’s seventh in block 2.

The Giligiliani-1 discovery is located along the western side of block 2 at a 2,500m water depth while the natural gas was identified in Upper Cretaceous sandstones.

Statoil Western Hemisphere exploration activities senior vice president Nick Maden said: "This discovery has proven the gas play extends into the western part of block 2, which opens additional prospects.

"Our success rate in Tanzania has been high and opening up a new area will be key to continuing our successful multi-well programme.

Located in the central part of block 2, the Kungamanga prospect will now be drilled using the rig Discoverer Americas.

The Giligiliani-1 discovery follows five high-impact gas discoveries, which include Zafarani-1, Lavani-1, Tangawizi-1, Mronge-1 and Piri-1, and a discovery in Lavani-2.

The license on block 2 is operated by Statoil on behalf of Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC).

Statoil holds 65% working interest in the license while ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Tanzania owns remaining 35%.