AUSTRALIA Stock Exchange (ASX) listed firm, Invictus Energy, expects to spud Zimbabwe’s first oil and gas exploration well in the next few days, managing director Scott MacMillan revealed, in a potentially historic development that could transform the country’s economic fortunes.
The company will undertake the first exploration drilling at its Mukuyu-1 prospect in Mbire, a district in Zimbabwe’s northern province of Mashonaland Central and then move to the Baobab site, located in the Muzarabani district of the same province.
The first of the two-well drilling programme will be drilled to a depth of 4 kilometres while the second, much shallower one, would be sunk to a depth of 1,5 kilometres. The first hole will take about eight weeks and the second six weeks.
Invictus indicated last month it would start burrowing the ground in search for hydrocarbons either at the end of August or early September, with the Exalo 202 drilling that was shipped from Tanzania already on ground and 98 percent assembled.
The impending ground breaking drilling operation comes after the Australian oil and gas exploration company recently announced it had mapped additional multiple drilling targets in its expanded licence area, a commitment to long term presence in Zimbabwe.
Macmillan confirmed, but without providing the finer details about the planned start of the exploration drilling programme, that the drilling would commence “in the next few days”, barring any unforeseen disruptions.
Highly placed sources at the company corroborated MacMillan’s assertion saying “while a specific date is difficult to say, the Invictus team on the ground have told us that by the 12th of this month we should be able to start drilling”.
The Australian company is on course to start boring the ground in search for petroleum deposits after results from the study of technical data revealed encouraging evidence supporting the potential existence of hydrocarbons.
Discovery of commercial hydrocarbon deposits will significantly enhance Zimbabwe’s energy security, grow export
earnings, create jobs and result in development of several downstream industries, including along the oil and gas value chain.
This comes after Invictus recently received an updated Independent Report from ERCE Consulting estimating substantial resource potential at its Cabora Bassa Project, which straddles the Muzarabani and Mbire districts of Mashonaland Province, some of whose regions are predominantly dry outbacks.
ERCE estimates the gross mean recoverable conventional potential of the Mukuyu prospect at a combined 20 Trillion Cubic Feet (Tcf) and 845 million barrels of conventional gas condensate, or about 4,3 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) on a gross mean unrisked basis.
This marks a 2,7 fold increase on a barrel of oil equivalent basis to the 2019 independent assessment by Getech Group, which estimated Mukuyu (then named Mzarabani) to hold 8,2 Tcf and 247 million barrels (~1.6 billion boe) of conventional gas condensate, on a gross mean unrisked basis.
The ERCE prospective resource upgrade incorporates new data from the Cabora Bassa 2D Seismic Survey (‘CB21 Survey’). The CB21 Survey firmed up the potential for multiple stacked hydrocarbon bearing zones in the Mukuyu Prospect, as announced in an ASX release on 12 May 2022.
Macmillan commented; “The Mukuyu prospect has grown significantly in its scale and now represents one of the largest conventional exploration targets globally.
‘This updated estimate is the culmination of the excellent work from the Invictus technical team over the last 12-18 months to deliver this result in the lead up to our drilling programme. The estimate for the newly identified 200 horizons in the Dande formation within Mukuyu is 1.9 Tcf + 77 mmbbl which provides us with a material first up target in the Mukuyu-1 well.”
Invictus director Paul Chimbodza recently said the Australian firm had, over the last four years, invested a total of US$16 million on the project, “which brings us to the stage now where we have made a decision to drill the two wells, the cost of drilling Mukuyu-1 is another US$16 million.
But Chimbodza said even if the drilling exercise was not successful, that would not mean the end of the road for the project, stressing that the company would evaluate the technical data from the drilling programme and proceed to further investigate other sites for potential existence of hydrocarbon deposits. – Business Weekly