INVICTUS Energy, the Australian firm searching for oil and gas in Muzarabani, has moved closer to sinking the first ever petroleum exploration wells in Zimbabwe after signing an agreement with British firm Exalo Drilling SA to bring in the required drilling rig from Tanzania where it is drilling a similar exploration well.
This comes days after Invictus struck the financing deal for two wells with another British company, Cluff Energy Africa, keeping its 2022 exploration drilling programme well on course.
Invictus, which is listed on the Australia Stock Exchange, said Cluff Africa would fund a third of the drilling costs for a quarter interest in the Cahora Bassa Basin project at Muzarabani
Invictus said on Friday it had executed a memorandum of understanding with Exalo Drilling SA to drill the Muzarabani-1 exploration well, which included an option for an additional exploration well for the basin in May 2022.
“Following extensive evaluation, a number of suitable rig options on both a technical and commercial basis the company has selected the Exalo #202 Rig for the upcoming drilling programme. A binding rig agreement is anticipated to be signed in the new year,” Invictus said in a statement.
Exalo personnel, Invictus said, recently completed a visit to Zimbabwe to review the potential drilling locations and logistics options.
The #202 Rig is currently engaged in drilling operations in Tanzania and will be mobilised to the project once that programme has been completed.
The company is currently processing and interpreting the recently acquired seismic data from the Cabora Bassa (Muzarabani) 2021 Seismic Survey campaign, which concluded in early November this year with the aim of pinpointing the site for the Muzarabani-1 well and then looking how to progress to a pair of wells drilled one after the other.
“Under the MoU, Exalo Drilling SA must exercise the option for the additional well by February 15, 2022. Given the encouraging early results of the seismic processing the Cabora Bassa partners are confident of identifying and maturing an additional prospect to commit to a 2 well drilling programme.
“Securing the Exalo #202 Rig is another clear point of progression towards our maiden drilling campaign commencing in May 2022.
“We will now proceed to secure the remaining long lead items and services required to commence drilling operations. We will benefit immensely from inheriting an active drilling rig and crew and a modest mobilisation from Tanzania to the project area.
“The company plans to announce the final drilling location(s) and further details of the exploration program in the new year,” said Invictus managing director Mr Scott MacMillan.
Exalo is a one of the leading European onshore drilling contractors, which provides drilling services for the oil and gas and geothermal sectors with headquarters in north-west Poland. Exalo maintains a fleet of 35 rigs of various capacities which allows for drilling up to 8000m of depth.
The Exalo #202 Rig is a modern IRI (international reference ionosphere) 1200 model with a hookload of 307 000kg lbs and 895kW rating. This model has a proven track record and has completed projects in Africa, Europe and Asia.
According to the operator of the Muzarabani Special Grant (Invictus Energy), the total assessed reserves of the prospect stands at 260 billion cubic metres and 46,7 billion litres of natural gas condensate.
In November this year, Invictus completed a seismic survey, which was carried out by Canadian firm Polaris Natural Resources.
Early results from the processing of the seismic data for Muzarabani and historical data set gathered by the French oil giant, Mobil, in the early 1990s have reportedly been very encouraging.
The company also signed a Petroleum Exploration Development and Production Agreement with the Government of Zimbabwe in April this year.
The agreement provides the licence holder of the Muzarabani prospect the right to enter into a 25-year production licence following exploration periods.
It also provides the framework for progression of the project through the exploration, appraisal, development and production phases, the obligations and rights of each party, minimum work programme obligations to maintain the licence in good standing, and the security of tenure for the project duration.
“The signing of the agreement represents major strides in our efforts to tap into our oil and gas deposits, which is a new territory in the country’s mining sector,” said President Mnangagwa at the signing ceremony in April.
President Mnangagwa said other potential benefits of an oil and gas discovery included electricity generation, production of liquid petroleum, liquefied petroleum gas, fertiliser production and petrochemicals.