Australian-listed Invictus Energy has confirmed the presence of light oil, gas condensate and helium at its Cabora Bassa project in Zimbabwe. The company announced on Monday that mud gas analysis from the Mukuyu-1 well drilled last year had proved the presence of hydrocarbons in multiple reservoir pay zones. Following the announcement, Invictus Energy’s shares rose by 8.7%.
The analysis revealed the presence of light oil and rich natural gas condensate, with condensate gas ratios estimated at between 30 and 135 barrels per million cubic feet. The analysis also confirmed the presence of helium gas in commercial concentrations comparable with global helium producing fields.
Helium is a key component in the manufacture of semiconductors, liquid crystal display (LCD) panels and fibre optic wire. It is also used in medical equipment, such as MRI machines, and for scientific research purposes. The global demand for helium has been increasing rapidly in recent years, and the confirmation of commercial concentrations at the Cabora Bassa project is a significant development.
Invictus Energy plans to drill a second well, Mukuyu-2, during the third quarter of this year. “Success at Mukuyu-2 and confirmation of a significant discovery will further unlock the value of our material portfolio,” said Invictus Energy Managing Director Scott MacMillan.
The Cabora Bassa project is located in the Muzarabani Prospect, which covers over 250,000 acres. The project is a joint venture between Invictus Energy and the Zimbabwean government-owned oil and gas company, Zimbabwe Oil and Gas Company (ZOGC). Invictus Energy holds an 80% interest in the project, while ZOGC holds the remaining 20%.
The discovery of hydrocarbons at the Cabora Bassa project has the potential to transform Zimbabwe’s economy, which has challenges for decades. The country is heavily reliant on imports of fuel and electricity, and the discovery of domestic hydrocarbon reserves could reduce its dependence on imports and boost its energy security.
The announcement by Invictus Energy has been welcomed by the Zimbabwean government, which has been actively promoting investment in the country’s energy sector. “The discovery of oil and gas in Muzarabani is a game-changer for Zimbabwe,” said President Emmerson Mnangagwa. “This will be a major boost to our energy security, and it will help us attract more investment into the country.”
However, there are concerns that the discovery of hydrocarbons could lead to environmental damage and social upheaval in the region. The Muzarabani Prospect is located in a remote and ecologically sensitive area, and there are fears that drilling and extraction activities could harm wildlife and damage the ecosystem. There are also concerns about the potential impact on the local communities, who may be displaced or negatively affected by the project.
Invictus Energy has pledged to undertake the project in an environmentally responsible manner, and to engage with the local communities in a transparent and collaborative way. “We are committed to ensuring that our operations are conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner, and that we work closely with the local communities to address their concerns and priorities,” said Scott MacMillan.
The confirmation of the presence of hydrocarbons at the Cabora Bassa project is a significant development for Invictus Energy, Zimbabwe and the wider region. The success of the Mukuyu-2 well, scheduled to be drilled later this year, could pave the way for a new era of economic growth and development in Zimbabwe, while also providing a much-needed boost to global supplies of helium and other critical resources.