Invictus Strikes Oil, Gas in Zimbabwe

Invictus Strikes Oil, Gas in Zimbabwe
The finds could pave the way for the first gas production in Zimbabwe.
Image by Makhbubakhon Ismatova via iStock

Invictus Energy Ltd. announced Monday oil, gas and helium finds with commercial viability on its Mukuyu-1 drill site onshore Zimbabwe, a development that could pave the way for the first gas production in the Southern African country.

The Australian company said mud gas analysis had proved the presence of hydrocarbons in multiple pay zones, or reservoirs that can generate income.

“Analysis shows the presence of light oil and rich natural gas-condensate, with condensate gas ratios estimated at between 30 to 135 barrels per million cubic feet”, managing director Scott Macmillian said in a press release.

“The analyzed samples demonstrate a consistent, high-quality natural gas composition, exhibiting low inert content, containing less than 1% CO2 [carbon dioxide].

“Furthermore, the presence of helium gas in commercial concentrations in multiple reservoir units is comparable with global helium producing fields and provides an additional high value byproduct”.

Mud gas tests showed helium commercial concentrations of about 0.1 percent. “Commercial production typically requires helium concentrations between 0.04-0.35%”, Invictus said in the announcement.

The finds were made on the Cabora Bassa basin, where Invictus holds an 80 percent interest to develop “one of the last untested large frontier rift basins in onshore Africa”. The company’s license area has been expanded to a total of 360,000 hectares by the Sovereign Wealth Fund of Zimbabwe in August 2022.

Mukyu is “the largest undrilled prospect onshore Africa with an independently estimated 20 Tcf [trillion cubic feet] + 845 million barrels (gross mean unrisked basis) of conventional gas-condensate”, Invictus says on its website.

The finds come 30 years after ExxonMobil Corp., then Mobil Oil Corp., abandoned hydrocarbon exploration in Zimbabwe. But Mobil’s data from the failed quest in the 1990s was used by Invictus to advance its exploration, according to President Emmerson Mnangagwa in a November 1, 2018 statement affirming support for Invictus’ pursuit.

Invictus itself previously said it would demobilize well services on Mukuyu-1 and ST1, in the same basin, due to “operational challenges”.

Macmillian said in a release January 3: “Whilst we are frustrated with the numerous operational challenges encountered and not being able to obtain a fluid sample which would have enabled the formal declaration of a discovery, we have still achieved a hugely significant result from the first well in the basin which has substantially de-risked our dominant acreage position and established a new petroleum province”.

“We have gathered a high quality dataset across the Mukuyu-1 and sidetrack well which will now be integrated with the existing seismic data to calibrate and refine our interpretation and plan for the appraisal of Mukuyu as well as additional prospects in the basin”.

Invictus will drill Mukuyu-2 in the third quarter, Macmillian said in Thursday’s announcement.

It said last month it had received commitments for its $10-million private placement to fund its Mukuyu drill sites.

Invictus is “on track to spud the Mukuyu-2 appraisal well in the third quarter of 2023, targeting multiple hydrocarbon (gas-condensate and potentially light oil) bearing intervals encountered in the Mukuyu-1/ST1 well in the Upper Angwa, Pebbly Arkose and Post Dande formations”, Macmillian said April 6 in Invictus’ announcement of the direct sale of shares to private investors.

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