The discovery of an additional 1.0-1.8 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas in the Mdalasini-1 well brings the total discovered gas volumes by the company in Block 2 to approximately 22 tcf.

The Mdalasini-1 well, which is owned by Statoil, is located at a 2,296m water depth at the southernmost edge of the block.

The company identified the new gas in Tertiary and Cretaceous sandstones.

Statoil Western Hemisphere exploration activities senior vice president Nick Maden said: "The Mdalasini-1 discovery marks the completion of the first phase of an efficient and successful multi-well exploration programme offshore Tanzania.

"Since the start of the programme in February 2012, we have drilled 13 wells and made eight discoveries, including Mdalasini-1. We still see prospectivity in the area, but after appraising the Tangawizi-1 high-impact discovery, which was made in March 2013, there will be a pause in the drilling to evaluate the next steps and to mature new prospects."

Earlier, Statoil and co-venturer ExxonMobil made five high-impact gas discoveries – Zafarani-1, Lavani-1, Tangawizi-1, Mronge-1 and Piri-1, as well as the discoveries in Lavani-2 and Gilligiliani-1, all in Block 2.

The Block 2 license is operated by Statoil on behalf of Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) with 65% working interest, while ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Tanzania own the remaining 35%.

TPDC holds 10% working interest in case of a development phase.