INVICTUS Energy, the Australian firm searching for oil and gas deposits in Muzarabani and Mbire districts of Mashonaland Central Province, north of Zimbabwe, has started exploration drilling at its Mukuyu-1 prospect.
The exercise at the Mukuyu-1 site in Mbire District is expected to burrow the ground to a depth of 3,5 kilometres before the company switches focus to its second well drilling programme at Baobab-1, in Muzarabani.
The Australia Stock Exchange (ASX) listed junior exploration company said the drilling at Mukuyu-1 well, the first ever such exploration activity to be conducted in Zimbabwe, in SG 4571 commenced on last Friday.
Results of scientific studies on data gathered from the prospective areas showed strong evidence of potential existence of hydrocarbons.
Invictus is using Romania headquartered Exalo SA’s rig 202, which recently performed similar work in Tanzania.
Mukuyu is one of the largest oil and gas exploration prospects to be drilled globally in 2022, targeting a combined prospective resource potential of 20 trillion cubic feet and 845 million barrels of conventional gas condensate, or about 4,3 billion barrels of oil equivalent on a gross mean unrisked basis.
Invictus said in a statement that the oil and gas exploration well will be drilled to a projected depth of 3 500 metres. The drilling and evaluation of the well is anticipated to take approximately 50 to 60 days to complete.
Mukuyu-1, which will cost US$15 million to drill, will be followed by the Baobab-1 well, which will test an independent play along the basin margin in the exclusive prospecting order 1849 block and take approximately 30 to 40 days to complete.
Baobab-1 well, which is expected to cost US$10 million, will target stacked Cretaceous and younger sandstones, within four-way and three-way dip closures, against the southern basin bounding rift fault.
“This is an exciting and long-anticipated moment for Invictus and our shareholders.
“Invictus, together with our partners, have methodically de-risked and matured the Mukuyu prospect and our Cabora Bassa acreage over the last several years and the commencement of our drilling campaign is a significant milestone.
“Mukuyu-1 is a world-class, basin opening well which, if successful, could be transformative for the Company and Zimbabwe,” said Invictus Energy managing director Scott MacMillan.
The company’s principal asset consists of contiguous exploration licences SG 4571, EPO 1848 and EPO 1849 located in the Cabora Bassa Basin in Zimbabwe, which contains the world class Mukuyu prospect – the largest undrilled prospect onshore Africa.
Commercial discovery of oil and gas in Zimbabwe is expected to enhance the country’s energy security, create jobs and new downstream industries, grow exports and significantly boost fiscal revenues among other benefits.
Invictus signed a petroleum exploration, development and production agreement (PEDPA) which governs the roles and rights of each part through the development to production phase of the oil and gas project through its life cycle.
The parties have also reached advanced stages in drawing up a petroleum product sharing agreement (PPSA), which details the fiscal terms of the product.
Minerals account for the largest chunk, more than 75 percent, of mineral rich Zimbabwe’s exports.
The Government is targeting to grow the extractive sector to a US$12 billion industry by 2023, a launch pad to Vision 2020, by which the country should attain middle income status.
Exploration success should facilitate fast-track development options for early monetisation ahead of full field development and pipeline infrastructure.
Sable Chemicals and Invictus Energy signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in May 2017, in which Invictus would supply up to 70 million cubic feet of gas per day to Sable’s Kwekwe fertiliser plant for 20 years from the Mukuyu project.
An additional MOU was signed with Tatanga Energy for the development of a 500 MW Gas to Power project for gas supplied at 100 million cubic feet of gas per day, showing that the local market offtake agreements are in place, should Mukuyu-1 find success. For the higher recoverable volume cases, it was assumed that an 800 km pipeline would be constructed that ties into the Rompco pipeline in Mozambique.
The pipeline transport gas safely from Mozambique’s gas fields to markets in the country and South Africa.