Venezuela is depending on a new gas field discovery by Eni to aid the country in becoming a major gas producer.

Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told The Associated Press that the latest exploratory drilling confirmed 15 trillion cubic feet of gas under the sea floor.

Eni, a partner in the project, is calling it the biggest natural gas deposit in Venezuela and one of the most significant finds in recent years.

The well, Perla 3, which was drilled in a water depth of 70m, encountered 210m of net pay carbonate sequence with excellent reservoir characteristics.

During the production test, the well flowed 68 million cubic feet per day of gas and 1,350 barrels of condensate per day.

Eni is involved in the offshore project with Spanish energy company Repsol-YPF.

Initial gas output could go to the domestic market. The offshore field is located about 50km (30 miles) from the refineries of the Paraguana Peninsula, according to Ramirez.