Mozambique’s Government has approved Eni‘s plan of development for the Coral discovery in the Area 4 permit off the country’s coast.

Approval is related to the first phase of development of five trillion cubic feet of gas in Coral, which lies in water depths of more than 2,000m, 80km offshore of the Palma bay in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

Eni made the discovery in May 2012 that proved the existence of a quality field of Eocene age with productivity.

The field is estimated to contain around 16 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas in place.

"It is a fundamental step to progress toward the final investment decision of our project."

Under the development, Eni plans to drill and complete six subsea wells in addition to the construction and installation of a floating LNG facility with a capacity of around 3.4Mtpa.

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.

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"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 Area 4 with a 50% indirect interest owned through Eni East Africa (EEA), which holds a 70% stake in it.

The remaining partners are Galp Energia, Kogas and Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH) with a 10% stake each. A 20% indirect interest in Area 4 is owned by CNPC through EEA.

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