Growth potential for Kosmos Energy’s (NYSE: KOS) assets offshore northwest Africa have gotten bigger with the discovery of what the company is calling a “significant” gas discovery offshore Senegal, adding roughly 3 trillion cubic feet of gross prospective resources.

The Dallas-based company focused on the Atlantic Margin said its Guembeul-1 exploration well hit 101 m (331 ft) of net gas pay in two “excellent quality” reservoirs. These included 56 m (184 ft) in the Lower Cenomanian and 45 m (148 feet) in the underlying Albian. The well, which is located south of the basin-opening Tortue-1 gas discovery that now goes by Ahmeyim, was drilled to a total depth of 5,245 m (17,208 ft) with the Atwood Achiever drillship.

The wildcatter has greatly de-risked prospectivity in the area, Kosmos said, noting signs such as static pressure communication that indicate Guembuel-1 is part of what is believed to be a large gas accumulation that includes the Tortue-1 well in the Lower Cenomanian. Discovered in April 2015 offshore Mauritania, the Tortue-1 well forms part of the Greater Tortue Complex, which extends into the St. Louis Offshore Profond Block in Senegal where Guembuel-1 was drilled.

“The Guembeul-1 well continues our 100% success rate in the outboard Cretaceous petroleum system offshore Senegal and Mauritania, which we believe is a strategically important new oil and gas province,” Kosmos Energy CEO Andrew G. Inglis said Jan. 27. “We are focused on unlocking the basin’s full potential.”

The latest find boosts Kosmos’ Pmean gross resource estimate for the Greater Tortue Complex to 17 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) from 14 Tcf. The discovery comes as part of an exploration program being carried out to test prospects in the complex, which also include Tortue East and Tortue North, following the acquisition in 2014 of a 3-D seismic survey across Senegalese blocks.

Moving forward, the drillship will journey to Mauritania, where it will drill the Ahmeyim-2 delineation well. “This will test the downdip limits of the field and is expected to complete appraisal of the Tortue West structure,” Kosmos said.

The company also has entered an agreement with national oil companies Pétroles du Sénégal (Petrosen) and Société Mauritanienne Des Hydrocarbures et de Patrimoine Minier to develop the cross-border Greater Tortue resource pushing for early development.

“Guembeul-1 confirms the presence of a world class gas resource that extends into both Senegal and Mauritania,” Inglis added. In November, Kosmos said its Marsouin-1 exploration well offshore Mauritania made a play-extending gas discovery. The well, located about 60 km north of Tortue-1, encountered at least 70 m (230 ft) of net gas pay in the Upper and Lower Cenomanian intervals. “With our successful appraisal program and support of both governments, the initial gas development is gaining momentum.”

Although the Guembeul well was the first exploration well offshore Senegal for Kosmos and its partners, Timis Corp. Ltd. and Petrosen, the area has already been on the radar of other companies.

Earlier this year, Cairn Energy said it produced high-quality oil at a rate of about 8,000 barrels per day from its SNE-2 appraisal well offshore Senegal. Multiple samples of oil and gas were recovered to surface from wireline logs and drillstem tests, the company said. The well—the first in a three-well evaluation program—appraised the 2014 discovery of high-quality oil in the SNE-1 well, located about 3 km to the south.

“We are delighted with the results of the SNE-2 well and in particular the well tests, which are significant in demonstrating the ability of the reservoirs to flow at commercially viable rates,” Cairn Energy Chief Executive Simon Thomson said in a Jan. 4 news release. “The results help to confirm the overall scale and extent of the resource base in Senegal and further appraisal activity is expected to lead to future revision of the estimates. We now eagerly look forward to the results of the SNE-3 well.”

Cairn’s partners in the project are ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), FAR Ltd. and Petrosen.

The exploration news comes as oil and gas companies are cutting back on exploration spending as supply outpace demand, keeping commodity prices low, attention on doing more with less and tasks that can wait on the shelf. However, companies with longer-term views have not halted exploration projects and continue to replenish reserves.

Global demand for gas could grow by 50% by 2040, mainly because of its versatility and lower carbon content, ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) predicted in its latest energy outlook. The outlook showed natural gas demand will rise in all parts of the world, meeting 40% of the global energy demand.

Kosmos reported Jan. 27 that its proved net reserves surpassed 76 million barrels of oil equivalent at year-end 2015, a 110% reserve replacement ratio on a net proved basis.

“Reserves increased primarily due to continued positive reservoir performance, more than offsetting the impact of lower oil prices,” Kosmos said.

Velda Addison can be reached at