PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has confirmed the discovery of oil and gas deposits in the country's Mashonaland Central Muzarabani area in a development that has the potential to solve the country's perennial oil challenges.
Addressing the media Thursday afternoon, Mnangagwa said, in the last few months, his administration had supported an Australian energy firm to carry out studies on the existence of oil deposits.
"Invictus Energy limited is utilising data which was generated by Mobil Oil in the early 1990s when extensive oil and gas geo-physical work was undertaken in the greater Muzarabani area.
"We have since been advised that the findings are positive and point to oil and gas deposits in the area," he said.
Mnangagwa said Invictus Energy Limited, which is quoted on the Australian Stock Exchange, will be making a statement to their shareholders through the western country's stock exchange in a few hours' time while extraction plans were underway.
"Government of Zimbabwe will work very closely 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," said Mnangagwa.
The President said additional geo-physical work was ongoing to identify further exploration targets while updates will be given as and when the planned exploration work results come in.
Mnangagwa said his government and the Australian company have reached a production sharing agreement which will be applicable when the project proceeds to commercial production stage but did not shed more light into the terms of the agreement.
Research carried out on the possibilities of oil shows that hydrocarbon deposits occur in sedimentary geological features less than 300 million years old.
Zimbabwe has three areas holding sedimentary geological features that fit the profile - Karoo (150-300 million years), Cretaceous (50-140 million years), and Kalahari (four-50 million years).
Of these, the Zambezi Valley - which sits on Karoo sediments in the Cabora Bassa Basin - holds the most potential for gas and possibly oil.
Between 1989 and 1993, Mobil Oil explored a part of the Zambezi Valley in the Cabora Bassa Basin spanning 30 120 square kilometres.
The company concluded the area was likely to have gas, a finding corroborated by German Geological Survey BGR.
BGR analysed the data and carried out extensive fieldwork and indicated the area potentially held high volumes of recoverable gas.
In 2014, Sedimentologist and geological consultant Doctor Dennis Shoko, who worked with Mobil on the initial exploration told the media work carried out by Mobil was very extensive.
"... The results they produced were very positive.
"Their surveys included airborne geo-physical work. They worked on the structure of our basin in areas such as the Mana Pools, the Cabora Basin and Zambezi Basin."