Italian oil and gas major Eni plans to drill 140 new wells over the next four years in an ambitious $28 billion programme the company hopes will boost production in African markets, including Nigeria.

“With the results achieved so far in 2013, we are very confident that this target will be met,” Luca Bertelli, Eni’s Executive Vice-President for Exploration, told an African oil and gas conference on Thursday.

The company will spend an average of $7 billion a year to develop a variety of projects in deep-water Nigeria, Ghana and Mozambique, the VP disclosed.

Heavily invested in Africa, Eni recently cut its production targets to mirror shrinking volumes from Libya and Nigeria.

The oil major – Italy’s largest industrial company with a market capitalization of $111.2 billion – has seen its oil and gas production fall 3.8 percent in the third quarter to 1.653 million barrels of oil equivalent a day.

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