Harare — Australian Stock Exchange listed Invictus Energy says it has confirmed existence of viable oil and gas reserves in the Cabora Bassa Basin in northern Zimbabwe.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa gave the thumbs up to the investment, saying his government will work with the company to exploit the resources.

According to Invictus, the area in rural Muzarabani, on  the border with Mozambique, is one of the largest under-explored interior rift basins in Africa.

Addressing journalists at a news conference in Harare on Thursday, Mnangagwa said: “As part of its exploration studies, Invictus has engaged a number of worldwide professional companies with extensive experience in oil and gas. We have since been advised by Invictus that the findings are positive and point to oil and gas deposits in the area.”

With other investors having been frustrated by the country’s policy uncertainties and other bureaucracies, Mnangagwa said his administration will enter into a production-sharing agreement with Invcitus for smooth implementation of the deal.

“Government of Zimbabwe will work very closely with Invictus to ensure that Invictus realises its plans to sink an exploration well by mid-2020. After the exploration well, the next stage will be commercial exploitation of the resource. In the interim, additional geophysical work is ongoing to identify further exploration targets,” he said.

Invictus’ representative in Zimbabwe, Paul Chimbodza, said Mobil Oil was the first company to undertake oil and gas studies in Muzarabani 25 years ago but left, adding his company is now using the data first generated by the oil giant.

Invictus is an independent oil and gas exploration company focused on high impact energy resources in sub-Saharan Africa, according to its website.