PODCAST Invictus Energy - the gas explorer which could change a nation

The Cabora Bassa project could be the answer to southern Africa's power problems

Paul Hunt

Senior Journalist: Oil & Gas, Policy.

Paul Hunt

INVICTUS ENERGY is listed on the ASX and headquartered in Perth, Western Australia, but the company has deep roots in Zimbabwe - where it holds a massive nine trillion cubic feet of gas at its Cabora Bassa project.

Southern Africa suffers from a power and electricity crisis, with many parts of the content forced to endure rolling power cuts or load shedding.

Recent independent studies reveal South Africa will have a shortfall of gas of around 1 billion cubic feet per day. That's the size of Australia's entire East Coast market. The shortfall could hit as early as 2030.

Invictus Energy hopes to be a key part of the energy solution in southern Africa.

The company's 9Tcf resource estimate is mammoth sized, at least twice as large as the Waitsia discovery in Western Australia, and with a liquids condensate resource that could be bigger than the famous Dorado oil discovery which saw Santos acquire Quadrant Energy last year.

Despite the scale of the prospect, it has never been drilled until now, largely due to the previous Mugabe government's disposition to direct foreign investment. Oil and gas explorers and producers were by all accounts locked out of the country.

However, decades on, and a new change in government, has seen Invictus Energy preparing to spud what is a giant untapped resource.

Invictus is in active negotiations with both major oil and gas companies, smaller producers and investment funds to form a joint venture to develop the asset.

"Anything over 500 million barrels of oil equivalent starts to wet the major energy company's appetite. We're heading towards 2 Billion Barrels," Invictus Energy managing director Scott MacMillan explains.

The first wildcat exploration well will target the larger structure in the company's portfolio, called Mzarabani. If successful, which analysts from Netherland Sewell & Associates believe it could be, it will not just be a company-changing discovery. It will be a nation changing one.

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