Venezuela struggles with a natural gas shortage, importing about 200 million cubic feet from Colombia. Colombian gas exports to Venezuela collapsed in January 2010, complicating an energy emergency declared by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Eni in a note to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said the Perla discovery in the Gulf of Venezuela holds "significant amounts of gas reserves" that could enter production by 2013, Bloomberg News reports.
Eni said in November that it uncovered a "supergiant" gas discovery at the Perla field, which the company said holds an estimated 14 trillion cubic feet of gas.
Natural gas makes up 34 percent of the hydrocarbons available in Venezuela.
Around 90 percent of the natural gas reserves in Venezuela are associated with crude oil.