Republic of Congo could produce nearly 1 million barrels of crude per day following a new oil discovery in the country, a company involved told Reuters on Monday.
The find could possibly quadruple the nation's output and propel it into the same league as Africa's largest producers.
Production, which will be ramped up in phases, could begin in six months. If it reaches expected levels, Congo's production would be close to Nigeria, which produces about 1.8 million barrels a day, and Angola, at around 1.4 million.
Congo's cash-strapped energy industry has been boosted by major recent finds from Italy's ENI and France's Total, lifting an economy hobbled by debt, civil unrest and corruption, and raising output to about 350,000 barrels per day.
Production from the new field, developed by SARPD-OIL in la Cuvette region, could dwarf that, said the company's marketing director Mohamed Rahmani.
A government spokesman did not immediately comment on the discovery, Reuters reported.
SARPD estimates the field holds 1 billion cubic metres of hydrocarbons, including 359 million barrels of oil, with a potential for daily output of 983,000 barrels, Rahmani said.
That, the company reckons, could bring in $10.5 billion a year into Congo, doubling the Central African country's GDP.