AUSTRALIAN firm Invictus Energy (Invictus) has raised a combined A$35,4 million (about US$23,57 million) to fund the next phase of its Cabora Bassa exploration and appraisal programme, a company official said yesterday.

The company — which aims to pipe Zimbabwe's first oil barrels — has been on the market seeking funds as it gets ready to start the next stage of an exploration and appraisal programme that may assure Zimbabwe of future energy security.

In a shareholder update, the firm’s managing director Scott Macmillan said they had received strong support from new and existing institutional as well as sophisticated investors.

“Invictus has been overwhelmed by the support of investors in recent months as we prepare to embark on the next phase of our potentially country changing exploration and appraisal programme that could provide Zimbabwe with future energy security,” he said.

“Combined with our previous private placement in April and the recently completed share purchase plan, Invictus has now raised a total of A$35,4 million which sees the company’s upcoming Mukuyu-2 appraisal well funded for our next phase of operations in the Cabora Bassa Basin.

“The company is in a strong financial position as we prepare to drill the Mukuyu-2 appraisal well, which is a follow up to the play opening Mukuyu-1/ST1, which proved the presence of light oil, gas and helium with the very first well drilled in the basin.”

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Macmillan said the appraisal well data acquisition programme had been upsized to include additional tools to enhance the evaluation and acquire high-quality open-hole wireline log data and fluid samples, with the aim of formally declaring a discovery and placing the company on a pathway to development.

“We remain on track to spud Mukuyu-2 in the third quarter of CY2023 (calendar year 2023), and I look forward to providing further updates as we finalise the well location and award well services contracts.

“I would like to thank existing and new shareholders that participated in our recent capital raises and look forward to providing more updates on the exciting journey ahead as we work to unlock the significant resource potential of the Cabora Bassa Project,” he added.

The company received firm commitments from sophisticated and institutional investors to raise A$12,75 million (before costs) by way of private placement.

The placement will consist of A$9,75 million placed under the company’s current remaining placement capacity pursuant to ASX Listing Rule’s 7,1 and 7,1A and an additional A$3 million subject to shareholder approval of the refreshment of the company’s placement capacity at the upcoming extraordinary general meeting to be held on June 7, 2023.