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Australians blast first Zim oil well…20 trillion cubic feet, 845m barrels under spotlight

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

AUSTRALIA Stock Exchange (ASX)-listed energy explorer, Invictus Energy, kicked off drilling the first of two test wells at its Zimbabwe-based Cabora Bassa claims on Friday, marking an important step in its search for oil and gas in the country.

In a statement released yesterday, “excited” bosses at the resources junior said Exalo, the Romanian oil rig that has been given the crucial mandate, would blast away mortar for 3,5 kilometres under the chest of an asset seen as “one of the untested large frontier rift basins in onshore Africa”.

Investors may know within 60 days if their long-cherished dreams would be achieved.

But should the firm strike either of the two expected resources, such a development would give impetus to Zimbabwe’s struggle to rebuild an economy tormented for too long by prolonged decline precipitated by years of maladministration, plunder and corruption.

Invictus said Friday’s developments were “exciting and long-anticipated.”

“The company is pleased to announce drilling at the Mukuyu-1 exploration well in SG 4571 commenced on Friday 24 September local time,” the firm said in a regulatory filing at the ASX.

“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,” the firm said.

“Mukuyu-1 will be drilled to a projected depth of 3 500 metres. Drilling and evaluation of the well is prognosed to take approximately 50 to 60 days to complete.

“Mukuyu-1 will be followed by the Baobab-1 well, which will test an independent play along the basin margin in the EPO (exclusive prospecting order) 1849 block and take approximately 30 to 40 days to complete. Baobab-1 well will target stacked cretaceous and younger sandstones, within four-way and three-way dip closures, against the southern basin bounding rift fault,” it added.

The firm said at Baobab, it had found characteristics similar to Ngamia, an asset in Kenya’s Lokichar Basin, where “strings of pearls” were discovered.

Managing director Scott Macmillan said: “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,” he added.

“Mukuyu-1 is a world-class, basin opening well which, if successful, could be transformative for the company and Zimbabwe,” Macmillan said.

Mukuyu-1 drilling had been slated for the final quarter of 2021, but the world was at the time still battling to forestall pandemic waves, which crippled global supply chains and unsettled investment flows across regions.

 

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