Invictus’ gas deposits second biggest in sub-Saharan Africa Invictus Energy Limited managing director Mr Scott MacMillan

Golden Sibanda Business News Editor

INVICTUS Energy, the Australian exploration company that discovered moveable condensate gas deposits in Mashonaland Central Province, northern Zimbabwe, says its Mukuyu gas field has been ranked the second largest of seven hydrocarbon deposits found on the sub-continent in 2023.

The Mukuyu field has been identified as the second-largest discovery in Sub-Saharan Africa in an upstream review published by global energy research firm Wood Mackenzie last month.

Mukuyu’s placing as an estimated 230 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe) (1,3 trillion cubic feet) resource follows two gas discoveries from the Upper and Lower Angwa reservoirs declared by Invictus in December last year.

Preliminary studies have indicated that the Mukuyu gas field potentially holds 30 million TCF of gas condensate. Before the Mukuyu-2 discovery, Zimbabwe’s Cahora Bassa was considered the largest undrilled prospect offshore Africa.

Wood Mackenzie’s review noted that regional exploration yielded seven discoveries from a total of 17 wells drilled across the sub-continent in 2023, with Invictus accounting for two of the discoveries.

These include Shell’s Jonker-1 and Lesedi 1X in Namibia, Invictus Energy’s Mukuyu-2 in Zimbabwe, TotalEnergies Ntokon 1AX in Nigeria, Azule Energy’s Lumpembe in Angola, Sasol’s Bonito 1 in Mozambique and BW Energy’s DHBSM1 in Gabon.

Invictus said there remained substantial upside through further drilling to convert prospective resources in the Mukuyu field into contingent resources and subsequently mature them into reserves. Invictus declared two material discoveries after recovering a total of 15 downhole gas and gas-condensate samples from both the Upper and Lower Angwa Formation targets in the Mukuyu-1 and Mukuyu-2 wells during its December drilling campaign.

The dual discoveries confirm the incredible potential of the Mukuyu gas field and define a new petroleum province in the Cabora Bassa basin, where the company holds a dominant acreage position of 360 000 hectares in proximity to a high-demand energy market with established delivery infrastructure.

“Having the Mukuyu discovery independently recognised as one of the largest discoveries in 2023 and acknowledged among several multinationals confirms our confidence in the quality and scale of this new gas field in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Invictus managing director Mr Scott MacMillan said.

Invictus, he said, would build on the Mukuyu discovery and convert prospective resources in undrilled fault blocks in the Mukuyu field into contingent resources, laying the pathway to mature the reserves through further drilling.

“Invictus’ dominant 360 000ha position in the Cabora Bassa basin provides the company with further opportunities to deliver subsequent discoveries from its substantial portfolio of drill-ready prospects and leads following the basin opening discoveries delivered from the first two wells,” Mr MacMillan said.

Natural gas condensate, also called natural gas liquid, is a low-density mixture of hydrocarbon liquids that are present as gaseous components in the raw natural gas produced from many natural gas fields.

Zimbabwe’s discovery is the Triassic-aged hydrocarbon in Sub-Saharan Africa. The successful discovery of moveable hydrocarbons in Zimbabwe could have a far-reaching positive impact on the company and economy in general.

Potential game-changing benefits include faster economic growth, increased export earnings, energy security for a country facing a crippling electricity deficit, massive job creation, and the development of completely new downstream industries.

Condensate gases are also used for power generation, and manufacture of products such as petrol (gasoline), jet fuel, diesel and heating fuels.

Some condensate gases, particularly those with a high paraffin content, are used for the manufacture of ethylene (feedstock for polymers and industrial chemicals).

Invictus Energy and One Gas Resources recently executed an updated gas supply MOU with Mbuyu Energy, a Zimbabwean consortium led by independent Power Producer (IPP) developer Tatanga Energy.

The consortium, which includes existing Invictus’ institutional shareholder Mangwana Opportunities Fund, is seeking to develop a 500-megawatt (MW) gas-to-power project.

Following the recent confirmation of the discovery of gas at the Cabora Bassa Project, the updated MOU builds on the previous MOU signed in December 2019 with Tatanga Energy. The MOU is a precursor to the negotiation of a full long-term gas sale agreement to supply sufficient gas to power the proposed plant.

The plant can be expanded in future phases to up to 1 000MW (equating to a forecasted demand of approximately 1,4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over 20 years).

The updated MOU will see the parties work together to assess the feasibility of developing the project utilising gas produced from the Mukuyu field or any other field developed in the Cabora Bassa project.

The Power Project will be developed in line with world-class standards and will support the further integration of renewable sources of energy into the National Grid.

Preliminary feasibility studies have identified a number of suitable locations that provide the ability to supply electricity through the local grid as well as potentially export to customers through the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP). The Mukuyu gas field is located within 100 kilometres of 3 major interconnectors to the SAPP grid which provides the ability to export power to any country in the region.

Mbuyu will enter into discussions with several existing high energy demand power off-takers including large-scale miners, industrial and other large-scale users of energy — many of whom currently import their electricity from neighbouring countries. The project will supply much-needed reliable and affordable baseload power to these companies.

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