The Sunday Mail
INVICTUS Energy, the Australian firm exploring oil and gas in Muzarabani and Mbire districts of Mashonaland Central, north of Zimbabwe, expects the first batch of key pieces of the exploration drilling equipment to be delivered at the project site this week.
The company announced recently that mobilisation of the Exalo 202 rig from Tanzania’s Songo Songo area, where the equipment was contracted for similar work, had commenced.
This sets up Zimbabwe for an historic first ever oil and gas exploration drilling exercise that could significantly transform the mineral rich Southern African country’s economy, if the project achieves commercial discovery.
President Mnangagwa said at the launch of the Petroleum Exploration Development and Production Agreement (PEDA) last year that the signing of the (PEDPA) agreement represented major strides in Zimbabwe’s efforts to tap into its oil and gas deposits, which is a new territory in the country’s mining sector.
The PEDPA provides the framework for progression of the Cabora Bassa Project through the exploration, appraisal, development and production phases, the obligations and rights of each party, the minimum work program obligations to maintain the licence in good standing, and the security of tenure for the project duration. He also said other potential benefits of an oil and gas discovery included electricity generation, production of liquid petroleum, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), fertiliser production and petrochemicals.
President Mnangagwa said the signing of the PEDPA with Geo-Associates, (Invictus’ 80 percent owned subsidiary), was testimony to the Government’s commitment to open up the economy to investment as well as engage and reengage the global community to do business in Zimbabwe. Results of data gathered by American oil giant Mobil in the early 90s and reprocessed using modern technology, have shown encouraging evidence supporting potential existence of hydro-carbons in the prospective area.
Further similar work, using the latest technology, on denser line spacing (seismic study), which was completed in September last year, has also indicated huge potential for oil and gas deposits in Muzarabani and Mbire.
The seismic, gathering sub-surface vibrations to investigate potential existence of domes trapping oil/gas, was carried out by experienced Canadian firm, Polaris Natural Resources.
Invictus chief executive, Scott MacMillan, said in an interview that the Exalo Rig 202 equipment had arrived in Beira, Mozambique and was now ready to be transported to Zimbabwe.
He said the company was on track to commence the exploration drilling programme at the end of July and in August. However, he said the commencement of drilling exercise “would depend on how the rest of the rig move goes and (if there will be) any delays with border (clearing) and rig up.
But Mr MacMillan said the rig equipment was already “on its way”. “First load clearing customs (is underway) in Mozambique at the moment”. The company estimates up to U$25 million would be spent on the drilling.
In an earlier update, Invictus said the rig and associated equipment were expected during the course of June ahead of the commencement of the drilling programme at the end of next month. Invictus said, then, that following the completion of clearing procedures and documentation, the Exalo Rig 202 has commenced mobilisation from Songo Songo Island in Tanzania to Cabora Bassa.
“The rig and associated equipment will arrive over the course of June and commence rig up to drill the first of two wells in the company’s upcoming exploration campaign in the Cabora Bassa Basin,” it said.
Invictus said the Mukuyu-1 well pad construction was nearing completion following the finalisation of civil works including pad levelling and compaction, water supply and reservoirs.
The concrete footings for the rig will be poured for curing ahead of the arrival of the rig to the wellsite.
“The Mukuyu-1 well will test multiple stacked targets within the greater Mukuyu structure, which is independently estimated to contain 8.2 Tcf (Trillion Cubic Feet) + 247 million barrels of conventional gas condensate (gross mean unrisked),” Invictus said.
Invictus has since been advised that the pre-gazettal administration process to increase its Special Grant 4571 (SG 4571) area by seven-fold has been completed and awaits publishing in the Government Gazette.
Invictus’ subsidiary, Geo Associates and the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe, recently executed a Heads of Agreement (HoA) to increase its SG 4571 licence area from 100 000 hectares to 709 300 ha.
Mr Macmillan said earlier; “The commencement of the rig mobilisation marks another milestone in the project as we prepare to commence drilling the Mukuyu-1 well, the first well in our potentially play opening two-well exploration campaign in the frontier Cabora Bassa basin.
“The enlarged SG 4571 licence provides us with a basin master position encompassing the entire Cabora Bassa Basin in Zimbabwe.
“Subject to making an opening discovery with one of our first two wells, it potentially could provide us with future discoveries on a large scale within the basin which will be transformational for the company and the Republic of Zimbabwe.”
The company has committed to drill a second well in the campaign to test the newly identified basin margin play which was matured through the CB21 Seismic Survey completed in November 2021.