Italian energy firm Eni has secured a three-year extension for the exploration of its 15/06 offshore block in Angola.

The company has discovered more than three billion barrels of oil in place and 850 million barrels of reserves in the block, which it acquired in 2006.

Eni requested an extension to complete the exploration activities already identified following completion of the original exploration period in November 2014.

"Extension of the exploration period of Block 15/06, which includes the Reco-Reco discovery, recognises Eni’s ability to successfully fulfil the role of operator."

The three-year plan includes the drilling of three wells and 1,000km² of 3D seismic.

Plans also include an area adjacent to the block that covers the discovery of Reco-Reco, which is expected to hold around 100 million barrels of oil in place.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said: "The extension of the exploration period of Block 15/06, which includes the Reco-Reco discovery, recognises Eni’s ability to successfully fulfil the role of operator, one which requires both technological innovation and a high level of operational efficiency."

Eni commenced production at the West Hub development project in November 2014, relative to block 15/06, just four years after the declaration of commercial discovery.

Block 15/06 also includes the East Hub development project, which is under development and expected to begin production in 2017.

Eni operates Block 15/06 with a 35% interest, while Sonangol EP is the concessionaire.

Sonangol Pesquisa e Produção, SSI Fifteen and Falcon Oil Holding Angola own 35%, 25% and 5% stakes, respectively.