Eni said on Wednesday the Mozambique government had approved the plan of development (POD) for the Italian oil major's Coral FLNG project, a key step towards a final investment decision.
The approval regards the first phase of development of 5 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Coral discovery, located in the Area 4 permit, Eni said.
The POD envisages the drilling and completion of six subsea wells and the construction and installation of a Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility which will have a capacity of around 3.4 million tonnes per year.
Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said approval of the Coral POP was a historical milestone for the development of the group's discovery of 85 trillion cubic feet of gas in the Rovuma Basin.
"It is a fundamental step to progress toward the Final Investment Decision of our project which envisages the installation of the first newly built FLNG facility in Africa and one of the first in the world," Descalzi said.
Eni is the operator of Area 4 with a 50 percent indirect stake owned through Eni East Africa which in turn holds 70 percent of the Area.
Mozambique, one of the world's poorest countries, is hoping to fuel future prosperity with revenue from an estimated 180 trillion cubic feet of offshore gas.
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes)