Italian energy company Eni said oil is flowing from a discovery prospect in the deserts of Tunisia. File photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo
MILAN, Italy, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Italian energy company Eni said Monday it notched a success in Tunisia, where oil has started to flow out of a discovery prospect in the Sahara desert.
The Italian energy company, which has been working in Tunisia for nearly 50 years, said Monday it confirmed the upside potential of a license area after oil started flowing at a rate of 2,000 barrels per day.
"The Laarich East-1 well, whose drilling started in June, has already been connected to production," the company said in a statement. "In the meantime, exploration activities in Tunisia are continuing with the drilling of additional prospects."
Eni said it was operating in Tunisia with an eye toward adaptability in a market characterized by crude oil prices that are nearly 50 percent less than two years ago. The company said it was working at the Tunisian prospect with what it mostly has on site so it can go into full-scale production if the opportunity is there.
Tunisian oil production has declined steadily since reaching a peak of 120,000 barrels of oil per day. A 2014 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates Tunisia has "significant" formations of oil in shale deposits, with recoverable reserves of as much as 1.5 billion barrels.
A report last year from consultant group IHS said there may be "billions" of barrels of unlocked oil in mature fields across the globe. It found operators in France, China and Tunisia using new drilling technology to address geological and production changes in mature basins.
Eni said its equity production in Tunisia is around 11,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.