BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
INVICTUS Energy, the southern Africa-focused resources firm, says a rig that is set to drill test wells at the Cabora Bassa project in Zimbabwe has begun the crucial journey from Tanzania.
#Exalo Rig 202 had been held by customs authorities in Tanzania after completing a similar operation at Songo Songo Island.
But in a statement yesterday, Australia-listed Invictus said the rig, which is tearing through Tanzania, and possibly Zambia before setting foot in the Zambezi Valley, would arrive in time to execute the historic assignment that kicks off on July 1.
NewsDay Business reported three weeks ago that the massive technology’s excursion had been delayed by clearance formalities in Tanzania.
The drill, which is operated by Romania-headquartered Exalo Drilling SA, has held a cross-section of Zimbabwean stakeholders spellbound.
From villagers in Mbire district, where Invictus is hoping to make an oil find, to authorities in the isles of Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped administration, the hope is that after drilling down four kilometres, Exalo would bring positive results.
For now, nobody is sure if what lies beneath the earth’s crust is oil or gas — or there is nothing.
Anxiety is also piercing through Australia, where the Invctus board said it was pleased that Exalo had been released.
“Invictus is pleased to confirm that following the completion of clearing procedures and documentation, the Exalo Rig 202 has commenced mobilisation from Songo Songo Island in Tanzania to Cabora Bassa,” the company said in a statement.
“The rig and associated equipment will arrive over the course of June and commence rig up to drill the first of two wells in the company’s upcoming exploration campaign in the Cabora Bassa basin,” Invictus added.
It said long lead items, including the casing, had begun arriving at its supply base in Harare and were being prepared for deployment to the Mukuyu-1 well site.
Invictus managing director Scott Macmillan said the commencement of the rig mobilisation “marks another milestone in the project as we prepare to commence drilling the Mukuyu-1 well, the first well in our potentially play opening two-well exploration campaign in the frontier Cabora Bassa Basin”.
He said an enlarged special grant 4571 licence given by government to the firm would provide Invictus with a basin master position encompassing the entire Cabora Bassa Basin in Zimbabwe.
“Subject to making an opening discovery with one of our first two wells, it potentially could provide us with future discoveries on a large scale within the basin which will be transformational for the company and the Republic of Zimbabwe,” he said.
Invictus’ 80% owned subsidiary Geo Associates (Pvt) Ltd and the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe have executed a heads of agreement to increase special grant 4571 licence area from 100 000 hectares to 709 300 hectares.
The company has committed to drill a second well in the campaign to test the newly-identified basin margin play which was matured through the CB21 seismic survey completed in November 2021.
It said details of the second well would be provided once the gazettal process has been completed.
Geo Associates and Zimbabwe will also conclude the petroleum production sharing agreement, which will encompass the legal and fiscal provisions to govern the project and the development of any discovered resource.
The company said the Mukuyu-1 well-pad construction was nearing completion following the finalisation of civil works, including pad levelling and compaction, water supply and reservoirs.
The concrete footing for the rig will be poured for curing ahead of the arrival of the rig to the well site.
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