Australian firm steps-in for gas mining project in Zimbabwe

Interpose Holdings Ltd. (formerly Sunbird Energy Ltd.), Perth, has agreed to acquire 80% interest and operatorship of the onshore Cabora Bassa basin project in Zimbabwe via the acquisition of 100% of fellow Perth firm Invictus Energy Resources Pty. Ltd.

The Cabora Bassa project, otherwise known as Special Grant 4571, comprises 250,000 acres of the Cabora Bassa basin where the focus is the Mzarabani gas-condensate prospect first identified by Mobil Oil in the 1990s.

Mobil spent about $30 million in gravity and 2D seismic surveys but relinquished the acreage when it concluded that the basin had higher potential for gas, rather than the big oil plays the company was seeking at the time.

Invictus moved in when SG4571 was granted for 3 years in August 2017 following the change of political regime in Zimbabwe last year.

The new government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa is keen to put the years of political isolation under former President Robert Mugabe behind it and wants to attract new direct foreign investment, particularly in the resources sector. It has opened the door to 100% foreign ownership of assets.

The Cabora Bassa project is said to have similar geological characteristics to the rift basin petroleum systems in neighboring Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, as well as the Australian Perth and Cooper-Eromanga basins.

Mobil’s work in the 1990s has provided Invictus, and now Interpose, with an extensive data set that indicates the elements for a working petroleum system are present. Interpose intends to reprocess this data before undertaking its own geophysical and geological studies using modern techniques with the aim of maturing the Mzarabani prospect and preparing for a farm-out to handle the drilling phase.

Interpose has agreed to pay a one-off sum of $500,000 to One-Gas Resources, a private company that controls the SG4571 permit held by Invictus. It hopes to complete the transaction by the end of May.

The company has secured commitments to raise as much as $4.5 million (Aus.) by way of a share placement of 150 million shares fully paid at 30¢/share that is underwritten by Ashanti Capital, a subsidiary of South African gold miner AngloGold.

As part of the proposal Interpose plans to appoint former Woodside Petroleum Ltd. and AWE Ltd. executive Scott Macmillan as its managing director. Macmillan is a reservoir engineer and Zimbabwean national who has wide experience in Africa. More recently he was responsible for AWE’s Waitsia gas field development in the Perth basin of Western Australia.

Sunbird Energy originally had a 76% interest in the Ibhubesi gas field offshore South Africa along with plans for development before it sold the asset and changed its name to Interpose in August 2016. – Source: Oil & Gas Journal