BY FIDELITY MHLANGA in Victoria Falls
AUSTRALIA Stock Exchange-listed oil and gas explorer, Invictus Energy yesterday requested government to expand its exploration claims in Muzarabani by 10 times, marking another phase in the firm’s hunt for its first find in Zimbabwe.
Invictus, which has already reported major milestones at the potentially lucrative project, said increasing its exploration fields would be key as it progresses with the landmark deal.
The firm is currently exploring for oil on a 100 000-hectare special grant in the Zambezi Valley.
If the request is granted, it will take its oilfields to about one million hectares.
“Zimbabwe needs to expand oil and gas exploration block,” Invictus Energy technical director Brent Barber told delegates at the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe annual general meeting in Harare.
“The size is not competitive with other neighbouring countries. The money is becoming harder and harder to find. The size of grants is important. We have applied for an increase of our concession for exploration. Our current space is drastically reducing the commercial component of it. At the moment we have not made any discovery,” Barber said.
In response, Mines deputy minister Polite Kambamura said: “On the issue of more land, we need to sit down and come to common ground.”
Government also undertook to extend a tax relief as it takes bold steps to make its first find in the southern African country.
Mercy Manyuchi, the acting chief director for mining development in the ministry said Invictus would enjoy tax holidays when importing drilling equipment.
“We are currently working on putting rebates with Finance ministry for their equipment for drilling purposes,” she said.
Invictus and the government recently signed a petroleum exploration development and production agreement (PEDPA).
Under the PEDPA, Invictus was granted rights to undertake production for the next 25 years and the project was granted Special Economic Zone status.
Deliberations are already underway to finalise the petroleum production sharing Agreement (PPSA), which will spell out how the output will be shared among stakeholders.
The firm will drill its first test well in the final quarter of 2021 and has recently worked towards establishing the exact location for sinking the shaft.
In March, the outfit raised about US$6 million for the project.
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-focused Australian firm, which has been exploring for oil/gas on swathes of the Zambezi Basin forests since 2015, has said it could be sitting on Africa’s largest find.
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