Thupeyo Muleya–Beitbridge Bureau
The consignment of the seismic survey equipment to be used by Australian firm Invictus Energy to map the geology of the potential Muzarabani oil and gas field drove through Beitbridge Border Post yesterday aboard five giant trucks after being offloaded in Durban last month.
Border officials were giving the cargo priority with Zimra officials working with staff from Professional Clearing Agents to finalise the customs clearance.
“We expect to complete the physical examinations later this day so that we move to another stage, and we want to move this priority cargo as soon as possible,” said one border official.
The equipment will be used in a seismic survey to identify the best sites for sinking exploration wells.
Australia Stock Exchange-listed Invictus Energy, the parent firm of Geo-Associates that holds the Muzarabani grant, has registered significant progress in trying to establish if there are commercially viable reserves of oil and gas in Zimbabwe’s Cabora Bassa Basin, the geological formation underlying the Muzarabani area. French oil giant Mobil in the early 1990s did initial seismic surveys but decided not to follow up.
However, Invictus using more modern data processing techniques, reprocessed the data gathered and found strong evidence that the underlying geological structures had the domes and traps that could indicate oil and gas in Muzarabani.
Exploratory wells are required to see if those domes and traps have indeed trapped the organic matter that decomposes to gas and oil, but before that stage, it is necessary to map the underlying geology more precisely, and that is what Invictus is now going to do.
The successful delivery of the equipment to be used in the company’s seismic survey, followed the approval by President Mnangagwa of the firm’s Petroleum Exploration Development and Production Agreement (PEDPA).
The PEDPA provides the framework for the progression of the Muzarabani project through the exploration, appraisal, development, and production phases and obligations and rights of each party over the project lifecycle.
The Australian firm needed this spelled out precisely before they could commit the large sums required for the next stages of the exploration.
As part of the building blocks for Vision 2030 of an upper middle income economy status, the Government is working on growing mineral exports from US$3,7 billion to US$12 billion by 2023.
It is envisaged that any natural gas and quite a bit of any petroleum discovered in Muzarabani would more likely be used within Zimbabwe.
Invictus Energy awarded Canadian firm, Polaris Natural Resources, the contract to undertake a seismic survey, a way of mapping geology through sub-surface vibrations.
Polaris intends to conduct, process, and interpret a minimum of 400 kilometres of seismic lines to define the best site for the first well, Mzarabani-1, as well as possible sites for future test drilling or production wells.