HARARE – Zimbabwe has no proven oil deposits, deputy Mines minister Fred Moyo has said.
His remarks come on the back of media reports that the land-locked country could be having oil and gas reserves, according to an exploration exercise performed about two decades ago.
However, Moyo — a former managing director of two Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed mining firms — told Business Live that “…from a technical bias point of view ie. try to zero on scientific facts and less perceptions… from a ministry’s point of view, there has been no announcement of an oil find and we have not found any oil”.
He said while geologically, Zimbabwe has the Karoo sedimentary basins capable of hosting gas and oil, the basins have not been adequately explored.
Moyo said the Mines and Minerals Development department was interrogating the issue and as such, it will be part of the forthcoming Zimbabwe Mining Indaba agenda.
Oil and natural gas are produced by the same geological process, anaerobic decay of organic matter deep under the earth’s surface.
As a consequence, oil and natural gas are often found together.
Moyo said noted that, with oil deposits being discovered in most countries on the continent, and more importantly, considering that sub-Saharan Africa is currently receiving the bulk of the world’s gas and oil exploration capital funds, there could be hope for Zimbabwe.
“Countries around us have been and are busy on exploration efforts towards gas and oil registering encouraging results so far,” said the seasoned miner.
In the past few years, oil has been discovered in Uganda and Kenya by Tullow Oil while gas deposits found off Tanzania and Mozambique have turned Africa into a frontier for hydrocarbon exploration.
Moyo confirmed that there were coal bed methane gas reserves in
Zimbabwe, adding that “the future looks good in this regard”.
According to reports, coal bed methane gas mining exploration activities in the country date back more than 10 years.
To date, exploration work done indicates extensive deposits of the resource.
It is estimated that the Hwange and Lupane basins have over 23 billion cubic feet per square mile — equivalent to 27 trillion cubic feet of sulphur-free methane gas.
Geological surveys conducted in the past indicate that Zimbabwe is one of the highest ranking countries, with respect to untapped natural resources per person.
The southern African country holds one of the world’s largest diamond reserves and the second-largest known platinum reserves after South Africa.