BY SHAME MAKOSHORI
EXALO #202, the oil and gas drilling rig that is on its way to kick off crucial test well drilling at Invictus Energy’s Muzarabani oilfields, has been stuck in Tanzania due to delays in releasing requisite papers, NewsDay Business heard this week.
The driller, which is operated by Romania-headquartered Exalo Drilling SA, recently clinched the deal but was said to be undertaking a similar project in Tanzania.
Exalo was expected to make the journey from Tanzania to Zimbabwe this month, arriving in time to execute the assignment from July 1, according previous statements by Invictus.
In an interview, Paul Chimbodza, whose firm, Geo Associates is a shareholder in the project, confirmed the delay, but said several parts of the plant had already arrived in Zimbabwe.
“There have been delays in Tanzania, they are working on the paperwork but several parts of the equipment have already started arriving,” Chimbodza said.
On Monday, the firm said it was on course to kick start the Mukuyu-1 oil and gas drilling, after raising US$8,5 million to fund project.
The funds were raised through a private placement.
“Under the placement, Invictus will issue 60 026,165 new fully paid ordinary shares at an issue price of $0,20 per new share, which represents a 27,3% discount to the company’s share price on May 18, 2022, the last trading date before the placement, and a 9,5% discount to the five-day volume weighted average price prior to that date,” Invictus said.
Invictus Energy, the Australian resources junior miner is hoping to strike a game-changing gas or oil find at the Muzarabani-based Cabora Bassa oilfields.
Results of the drilling assignment will also have a huge bearing on the economically troubled Zimbabwe’s future.
In a statement about three months ago, Invictus reiterated its confidence that there were high chances that massive fortunes were lying under the earth’s crust at the heart of swathes of boundless forests in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley region.
The drilling represents 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 SA 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, which attracted Scott Macmillan, the Invictus chief executive officer, to try his luck.
Macmillan is a Mobil veteran.
The firm has finalised processing the Cabora Bassa 2D Seismic Survey, with data interpretation underway at the time the statement was issued.
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,” Macmillan said then.
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