A joint venture of Italy’s Eni and Algeria’s state-owned Sonatrach has made a significant oil discovery in the Berkine North basin in the Sahara desert that it aims to fast-track into production between July and September.

News of the discovery came two days after Eni chief executive Claudio Descalzi highlighted the potential for the company to boost the volume of gas its can send from Algeria to Europe in the short and medium term to replace Russian supplies.