BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
EXALO #202, the oil and gas drilling rig operated by Romania-headquartered Exalo Drilling SA, makes a crucial southern African adventure from Tanzania to Zimbabwe this May, arriving in time for an important assignment.
The plant has been given a huge task, which could determine the future of Invictus Energy, an Australian company that is hoping for a game-changing gas or oil find at the Muzarabani-based Cabora Bassa oilfields.
Results of the drilling assignment set for June will have a huge bearing on Zimbabwe’s future. Exalo has agreed to drill Invictus’ first of two US$20 million test wells at the oilfields.
In a statement last week, Invictus expressed its confidence that there were high chances that massive fortunes were lying under the earth’s crust at the heart of swaths of boundless forests in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley region.
But before investors can tell what exactly lies beneath the ground, the rig will have to be shipped from Tanzania, where it is undertaking a similar operation.
It is an important phase in Invictus’ southern African ambition, one which has taken seven years of exploration and fund-raising to undertake.
Invictus said a binding drilling rig contract with Exalo has been inked.
“Invictus is pleased to confirm it has executed a binding drilling rig contract with Exalo Drilling South Africa to drill the Muzarabani-1 exploration well and an option for an additional exploration well for the basin opening drilling campaign, scheduled to commence in June 2022,” the company said in a shareholder update.
It has been a long journey for Invictus, which came to the Zimbabwean scene in 2015, when talk of oil or gas reserves in Zimbabwe resurfaced.
Mobil, the global oil giant, had explored, and abandoned the Zambezi Valley in the 1990s, but after collecting vital data, now worth about US$3 million, it attracted Scott Macmillan, the Invictus chief executive officer, to try his luck.
Macmillan is a Mobil veteran.
Last week, he said he had finalised processing the Cabora Bassa 2D Seismic Survey, with data interpretation underway.
But early signals have revealed “multiple trapping geometries and a target rich hydrocarbon environment”.
Invictus has identified several potential well locations for the Muzarabani-1 well and “is maturing additional prospects identified from the CB21 survey for a second well to be drilled in the upcoming campaign.”
“The maiden drilling programme to test the world class Muzarabani prospect is coming together very well, having secured Exalo’s #202 rig, global well services provider Baker Hughes and long lead items,” said Macmillan.