Italian energy company ENI announced on Wednesday new gas finds off the eastern coast of Mozambique - the third this year - entrenching the country's position as an emerging gas power.
“The new discoveries add six trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas... to Area 4, confirming at least 68 tcf (1.9 trillion cubic metres) of gas already discovered,” ENI said in a statement.
The total deposit is roughly equal to global production for two years, or the known reserves of Kuwait.
ENI has a controlling share in the Mozambican gas venture with Portugal's Galp Energia, South Korea's KOGAS and Mozambican state Hydrocarbon Company (ENH), each holding 10 percent.
Recent gas finds by ENI and Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum in the Rovuma Basin have increased Mozambique's prospects as a major natural gas exporter.
Authorities say the country could earn as much as $5 billion per year in gas exports by 2025, but exports have yet to begin.
Anadarko said it will begin selling gas from Mozambique in 2018.
Mozambique lies at the southern tip of a fault line running along the east African coast to Somalia, forming a geologically inviting region for natural gas that has become the focus of an exploration boom in recent years.
The country is currently considering a new legislative framework for the gas sector and lacks a concrete plan to manage its potential windfall.
Mozambique's reserves are believed to be enough to justify the construction of at least 10 Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plants, but no plant has yet been built.
In September ENI and Anadarko were said to be discussing building an LNG plant. - Sapa-AFP