Italian energy firm Eni has discovered gas in the Merakes exploration prospect, located offshore Indonesia.

The potential of the Merakes finding has been estimated at 1.3 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas in place, with an additional upside to be assessed through a delineation campaign.

Merakes is the initial exploration well drilled by Eni in the East Sepinggan block, which was assigned to the company in 2012.

"[The] Merakes finding is a significant one as it strengthens our position as [an] operator in Indonesia."

The well, which reached a total depth of 2,640m, encountered an accumulation of gas in the lower pliocene clastic sequence.

The company said the well crossed a hydrocarbon column of 60m in high quality sandstones.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said: "This new success further implements the company’s growth strategy in the Pacific basin where, in addition to its presence in Indonesia, Australia and China, Eni recently signed new exploration contracts in Vietnam, Myanmar, and China.

"[The] Merakes finding is a significant one as it strengthens our position as [an] operator in Indonesia. Moreover, thanks to its proximity to the Jangkrik field, which is currently under development, this new gas finding could supply in the future additional gas volumes to the Bontang LNG plant."

Eni has a 100% stake in the East Sepinggan block, which is located in the offshore East Kalimantan, Borneo, 170km south of the Bontang LNG plant and 35km from the offshore Jangkrik field.

Eni started operations in Indonesia in 2001 and the company has a large portfolio of assets in exploration, production and development.

The company also owns working interests in fourteen permits and operates ten.