Italian energy giant ENI has announced the discovery of what it says is the largest-ever off-shore natural gas field in the Mediterranean, inside Egypt's territorial waters.

In a statement Sunday, ENI said the 100 square-kilometer field holds a potential 850 billion cubic meters of gas in the deepwaters of Egypt. It said the discovery well is 190 kilometers from the Egyptian coast at a depth of 1,450 meters.  

The news follows a visit by ENI CEO Claudio Descalzi to Cairo for talks with President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and other Egyptian leaders.

Descalzi, quoted in the ENI statement, said the discovery could potentially "transform the energy scenario of Egypt," with his company aiming for a fast production startup.

ENI, the world's 11th-largest industrial company, has operated in Egypt for decades through its subsidiary IEOC.