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    Zimbabwe CBM Resource Draws Interest


A prospective foreign investor is talking about exports of energy to neighbouring countries.

by: Thulani Mpofu

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Zimbabwe CBM Resource Draws Interest

South African Tumagole Consortium has unveiled a plan to develop coalbed methane (CBM) resources in highly prospective western Zimbabwe. The total investment could exceed $4bn over time, it said.

Company officials, accompanied by South Africa's ambassador to Zimbabwe Mphakama Mbete met host vice-president Constantino Chiwenga in Harare January 30 to brief him on the proposal. 

Tumagole Consortium's Thapelo Tshephe said the company has already secured the support of some banks in South Africa and Sasol, an established hydrocarbon developer which will provide technical assistance for the project in Lupane-Lubimbi. He said Tumagole will invest $7.4mn as soon as the company signs a binding contract with the Zimbabwe government. 

"The meeting with the vice-president was in line with the CBM project in the area of Lupane. We have already done some work there but we now need a binding contract. We will be able to supply gas to nine neighbouring countries. It will help Zimbabwe to become independent [on energy]," said Tshepe.

CBM was discovered in the Lupane-Lubimbi sector in the 1990s but two licensed companies have failed to attract investment to develop their resources. More gas was discovered around the same time some 900 km to the southeast in Chiredzi. 

Last year, Invictus Energy, a sub-Saharan-focused Australian independent oil and gas exploration company announced that its Mzarabani Prospect north of the country contains 3.9 trillion ft3 of gas.  It says the asset, discovered by US ExxonMobil in the 1990s, is the largest undrilled seismically defined structure in onshore Africa.