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INVICTUS Energy, the Australian firm hunting for oil and gas in Muzarabani, may start drilling exploration wells early next year, after taking delivery of massive state -of -the –art- equipment to be used in identifying well sites.

Managing director Scott MacMillan said the more than 20 truckloads of seismic survey equipment offloaded at Durban Port, were now on their way to Beitbridge, en-route to a workshop in Harare before being deployed in Muzarabani.

Seismic survey is a method used in exploration, especially for oil and gas, to gather sub-surface vibrations that may help identify the exact locations of or existence of hydrocarbons.

This will be followed by the sinking of test wells to confirm whether the geologies of identified locations harbour pockets that trapped sediments that decomposed and turned into commercially viable oil or gas deposits.

‘The timeframe is being dictated by the lead time for fabrication of well heads and casing, which is currently 6-7 months. So, at this stage (drilling is) more likely next year,”

MacMillan said.

He said Invictus needed to wait for completion of the seismic data to be processed and interpreted so that “we can locate the well site properly”. That process will be finished towards year end, he said.

The Invictus boss said the seismic survey was a “big deal and first time it has been done in the country for 30 years”. The last serious oil searches were done by French oil giant Mobil in the early 1990s.

Since a single test well may be four  kilometres deep and cost up to US$15 million to US$20 million to drill, Invictus is keen to ensure that the first well is sunk in the best possible location.

The Australian exploration junior awarded experienced Canadian firm Polaris Natural Resources the contract to undertake the seismic survey, a way of mapping geology through sub-surface vibrations.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said following successful delivery of the equipment in Durban on Thursday last week, the equipment would be in Beitbridge by tomorrow.

“It is expected in Beitbridge in the next three to four days enroute to a workshop in Harare for service checks for a week or so before proceeding to Muzarabani,”

Minister Chitando said.

Invictus Energy, an Australia Stock Exchange (ASX) listed company, has posted major milestones in its quest to discover oil or gas in Zimbabwe, after reinterpretation of Data gathered by Mobil.

After being verified by independent experts, the results showed encouraging evidence of potential existence of significant hydrocarbons in the Cabora Bassa Basin encompassing the Muzarabani prospect.

The delivery of the equipment for the seismic survey follows the approval by President Mnangagwa of the firm’s Petroleum Exploration and Product Agreement (PEDPA) in April this year.

President Mnangagwa said the PEDPA agreement would provide a pathway for Zimbabwe to exploit its hydro carbons while discovery of commercial oil and gas deposits could bring significant downstream economic benefits.

The benefits expected include energy self-sufficiency, production of petro-chemicals, increased revenue to the fiscus, growth of exports, new jobs and emergency of downstream industries, among others.

Invictus said earlier the PEDPA signed with the Government provides the framework for progression of the oil and gas project through exploration, appraisal, development and production phases as well as obligations and rights of each party during the project lifecycle.

As part of the building blocks for Vision 2030, by which Zimbabwe should have attained upper middle income economy status, the Government is working on growing mineral exports from US$3,7 billion to US$12 billion a year.

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