MILAN, Italy, July 21 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni said it was marking its return to the deep Angolan waters with the launch of a floating production, storage and offloading vessel.
Eni said the so-called N'Goma FPSO is ready to set sail for a reserve area off the Angolan coast. The site was awarded in a 2006 licensing round.
"The project will mark the return of Eni as a deep water operator in Angola," the company said in a statement Saturday.
First oil from the country's West Hub development project is scheduled for the end of the year. The project includes the drilling of 21 new wells in waters as deep as 4,900 feet.
Angola is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC said Angola has proven crude oil reserves of 9 billion barrels and 9.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
Cobalt International Energy, a company with headquarters in Houston, said the discovery of as much as 700 million barrels of oil in the country's offshore Kwanza basin may be the "most significant " ever made in Angola.
Eni said it's had a presence in Angola since 1980. Net production as of last year for the company was 87,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.