Dakar - Senegal on Thursday hailed the discovery of offshore gas reserves estimated at 450 billion cubic metres as a game changer for the west African nation.
US firm Kosmos said its Guembeul-1 exploration well, located in the northern part of the Saint Louis Offshore Profond licence area in Senegal, had made a "significant gas discovery."
The company said it was a "world class gas resource that extends into both Senegal and Mauritania."
"This is the best news possible for our country," said Energy Minister Thierno Alas sane Sall on state television.
He said this would allow Senegal "to be self-sufficient in energy and also export gas to the rest of the world."
Dallas-based Kosmos Energy has since 2014 had exploration rights off Senegal.
The government said it was "the biggest gas reserve in west Africa" in an offshore area shared between Senegal and Mauritania.
Kosmos said it had signed agreements with the national oil companies of Senegal and Mauritania to jointly develop the offshore field.
The company holds 60% of the rights to the field, with Timi Corporation owned by Romanian-born tycoon Frank Timi holding 30% and Senegal's Petrosen national oil company holding the remaining 10%.