NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Cyprus’ energy minister says ExxonMobil has discovered the third-biggest gas deposit in the world in the last two years.

Announcing the results Thursday of exploratory drilling, Energy Minister Georgios Lakkotrypis said the “world class” discovery offers proof of the potential for more hydrocarbon discoveries in waters off the east Mediterranean island nation that could become an alternative energy source for Europe.

The discovery is estimated to contain 5-8 trillion feet of gas.

ExxonMobil Vice President Tristan Aspray said construction of a plant on Cyprus to process gas exports is an option.

Aspray said ExxonMobil is interested in searching for more gas elsewhere off Cyprus’ southern coastline. ExxonMobil is partners with Qatar Petroleum in carrying out exploratory drilling off Cyprus.