Invictus Energy Ltd. plans to start drilling at its Cabora Bassa oil and gas prospect in northern Zimbabwe by early September.
Paul Chimbodza, chairman of One Gas Resources, exploration partner of West Perth, Australia, based Invictus Energy, said drilling will proceed although there’s some equipment still to be delivered.
“We hope to spud by the end of the month or the first week of September,” Chimbodza told reporters at the Mukuyu-1 site in Mbire District, 185 km (115 miles) north of Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare.
“There’s still bits and pieces of equipment being brought in. We’re seeing a bit of delay but nothing of a red flag for us,” he said.
Exalo is lined up to do the drilling, and its equipment is already on site, he said. The wells will be dug to a depth of 3.5 to 4 kilometers (2.2 to 2.5 miles).
The latest search for gas and oil comes three decades after Exxon Mobil Corp. mothballed its quest to secure crude in the region.
Exxon “was chasing for oil and not gas,” Chimbodza said, adding that at the time there was no gas market structure in the region. The US oil major shared some of its exploration with Invictus, he added.
The discovery of oil and gas in the southern African country could be a boost for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government. Zimbabwe stands to receive as much as 60% of the project’s output under a production agreement still being finalized, said Joe Mtizwa, vice chairman of Invictus Energy.
“If we’re successful, this project will be transformational, a game-changer for Zimbabwe,” Mtizwa said.
Mukuyu contains the largest undrilled structure in onshore Africa, Invictus says on its website. The company reached an agreement with Zimbabwe’s government in March to increase the exploration license area by sevenfold to 1.77 million acres (716,300 hectares).