Large gas field discovered off coast of Mozambique

map The oil field was discovered off Mozambique by Italian oil and gas giant Eni

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A large natural gas field has been discovered off the coast of Mozambique.

The field, containing up to 425 billion cubic metres (15tn cu ft) of gas, was discovered by Italian energy giant Eni.

Eni was given a licence in 2006 to explore the area, which is about 2,000km (1,250 miles) north of the capital, Maputo.

The discovery raises the prospects that East Africa contains more natural gas than previously thought and could become a major gas exporter.

A rival US oil and gas explorer, Andarko, raised its estimates of the amount of natural gas in the Mozambique area earlier this month by two-thirds.

"The Mamba South discovery marks a new milestone for Eni, since the resource potential assessed with the first exploration well makes it the largest operated discovery in the company's exploration history," the company said.

The discovery was about 40km off the Cabo Delgado coast, Eni said.

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