INVICTUS Energy, the Australian firm exploring for oil and gas in Muzarabani and Mbire districts, has encountered a “minor” delay on its fluid sampling exercise due to failure of the primary and backup sampling tools.
The company, through its local partner — Geo Associates, the licence holder for the 700 000-hectare prospective area, also known as the Cabora Bassa Basin in Muzarabani and Mbire districts, commenced Mukuyu-2 wellsite drilling towards the end of September.
Mukuyu-2 well drilling campaign is anticipated to be completed in the forecast 50 to 60 days with total depth called at 3 718 metres.
Following a drilling campaign conducted towards the end of last year on Mukuyu-1 prospect before the project was abandoned due to technical hiccups experienced on the wellsite. This meant Invictus could not extract a fluid sample to fulfil regulatory requirements to declare a commercial discovery.
This is despite early this year, the company having announced that it had found natural gas and oil reserves on the first well in the north-east of Zimbabwe.
In an update released this week, Invictus managing director, Scott Macmillan, was quoted as saying: “Our fluid sampling operation has experienced a minor delay following the commencement of pipe conveyed logging operations due to a failure of the primary and backup sampling tools which occurred during the sample clean up (removal of drilling mud filtrate from reservoir to obtain a clean and representative fluid sample).
“The necessary replacement parts have now arrived on site and additional backups have been mobilised over the weekend.
“We are preparing to commence running in the hole imminently to continue sampling operations following the completion of tool checks.
“The company will provide an update once the sampling operation has been concluded.”
Seismic studies done for Muzarabani and Mbire oil and gas field have revealed potential production of around 283,2 billion cubic metres (8,2 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas, which is a substantial amount, and almost 40 million cubic metres (around 250 million barrels) of oil condensate.
The confirmation of hydrocarbons in Zimbabwe offers extra sources of energy in the country and unlocks avenues for massive economic growth and development through the propagation of downstream industries, new job creation and growth in export earnings and Government revenue.
Meanwhile, Invictus has declared that it will not dispose of its oil and gas project in the Cabora Bassa Basin once a commercial discovery is made, instead the company would embark on early monetisation of the investment.
Geo Associates managing director, Paul Chimbodza, has been quoted as saying: “This is an anchor project for the country and we are here for the long haul.
“We are not here to trade the project. If anything, we will invite more capacity so that we can share the full potential of this project but we are here to stay.”
Not disposing of the project entails that Invictus will not have the hassles and delays associated with the scouting of an investor to buy the oil and gas asset.
In this context, Zimbabwe would stand a chance to derive maximum economic benefits linked to extraction of oil and gas.
Such benefits include addressing the electricity challenges Zimbabwe and the Sadc region are facing due to lack of investment in power generation.
Invictus has also indicated that Sadc is facing an energy crisis with increasing shortages of gas and electricity hampering industry and investment electricity supply shortage – load shedding.
This year, there has been an acute regional power deficit worsening with record load shedding and national ‘state of disaster’ declared in South Africa with a supply shortfall of 7 000MW and a medium-term shortfall of 15 000MW.
Against this background, the Australian headquartered firm believes that gas-to-power is critical to address regional power supply deficit.
This would be buttressed by the Southern African Power Pool’s approval of cross-border electricity trading between states in the region.