Invictus inks fresh deal to scale up oil search

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BY SHAME MAKOSHORI

INVICTUS Energy, the southern Africa-focused Australian resources firm that is scouring north-eastern Zimbabwe for oil and gas, scaled up the search yesterday after inking a fresh deal giving it impetus to conclude groundwork before test wells are drilled.

In a market update, Invictus said it had inked an agreement with Canada-based Polaris Natural Resources Inc to provide acquisition services for its first two-dimension 2D seismic programme on the oilfields. It is an advanced search method that will combine sound to define where the wells will be located at the heart of a 2 000-hectare oilfield in Muzarabani district that had previously been partially explored and abandoned by Mobil in the early 1990s.

Polaris has conducted over 1 000 seismic projects since 1996 and introduced the first “low impact seismic crew” into Africa in 2008.

Invictus has said it will drill its first test well in the final quarter of 2021, and yesterday’s deal will be key in helping the firm establish the exact location for sinking the shaft. Last month, the Australia Stock Exchange-listed outfit raised about US$6 million for the project and signed a petroleum exploration development and production agreement with the government of Zimbabwe, marking an important step towards execution of the crucial project.

“Polaris has conducted over 15 projects in east Africa and has been well accepted in all communities where they have operated,” Invictus said yesterday.

Bill Mooney, Polaris chief executive officer said: “Polaris is very pleased to support Invictus on this world-class project. The combination of technologies being employed represent not only the lightest seismic footprint possible, but also allows for very fast and high resolution data acquisition”.

Invictus intends to conduct, process, and interpret a minimum of 400 line kilometres of 2D seismic in order to refine the Muzarabani-1 drilling location and well path.

The southern Africa-focussed Australian firm, which has been exploring for oil/gas on swaths of Zambezi Basin forests since 2015, has said it could be sitting on Africa’s largest find.

It has reported that results so far have been promising.

This is a region that is in close proximity to recent discoveries in nearby Mozambique, which are billed to transform the country.

This could be the reason why Invictus said in August last year it was determined to raise US$20 million to sink its first test wells after spending about US$3,5 million on preliminary work.

For now, it looks like the oil/gas find is set to make a huge impact, considering the scale of the resource being estimated by Invictus.

“(Invictus is) progressing the development of the Cabora Bassa project in Zimbabwe that encompasses the Muzarabani prospect, a multi-TCF conventional gas-condensate (a multi-trillion cubic feet) target which is potentially the largest, undrilled seismically defined structure onshore Africa,” the firm said in a commentary accompanying financial results for the half year ended December 31, 2020.

“The prospect is defined by a robust data set acquired by Mobil in the early 1990s that includes seismic, gravity, aeromagnetic and geochemical data.

“During the reporting period, Geo Associates, the company’s 80% owned subsidiary and holder of Special Grant 4571 received notification that its application to extend the tenure of the SG 4571 licence for a further three years was granted by the Mining Affairs Board.

“The exploration licence for the second period runs to August 2023.

“The company will undertake a comprehensive work programme for the second three-year exploration period including the commitment to drill a minimum of one exploration well.

“The company received approval of its application to renew the investment licence from the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Authority for a period of five years,” it said.