Zimbabwe’s Gas to Power Project: A Game Changer for Energy and Economy

How a new deal between Invictus Energy, Mbuyu Energy, and One Gas Resources could transform Zimbabwe's energy sector and boost its economic growth

by Victor Adetimilehin

Zimbabwe is facing a chronic power deficit that has hampered its industrial development and economic recovery. The country relies heavily on imports of electricity from neighboring countries, which are often unreliable and expensive. The situation has worsened in recent years due to droughts that have reduced the output of hydroelectric plants, the main source of domestic power generation.

However, a new deal signed in December 2023 could change the energy landscape of Zimbabwe and the region. 

Invictus Energy, an Australian company that owns and operates the Cabora Bassa Project in northern Zimbabwe, has agreed to supply natural gas to Mbuyu Energy, a Zimbabwean consortium led by independent power producer Tatanga Energy. 

According to a report by Mining Review, Mbuyu Energy plans to develop a 500-megawatt (MW) gas-to-power plant that can be expanded to 1,000 MW in the future. The plant will use a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) configuration that is more efficient and less polluting than coal-fired plants. The project will also involve One Gas Resources, a South African company that will provide technical and financial support.

The deal is a win-win for all parties involved. Invictus Energy will secure a long-term market for its gas, which was discovered in 2023 at the Mukuyu field, part of the Cabora Bassa Project. 

The project is estimated to hold up to 9.25 trillion cubic feet of gas, making it one of the largest gas discoveries in Africa. Mbuyu Energy will be able to provide reliable and affordable baseload power to Zimbabwe and the region, reducing the dependence on imports and enhancing energy security.

The project will also create jobs, stimulate economic activity, and foster new industries that can use gas as a feedstock or fuel. One Gas Resources will leverage its expertise and experience in gas development and power generation to ensure the successful implementation of the project.

The gas-to-power project is expected to start construction in 2024 and be operational by 2026. It will be synchronized with the development of the Mukuyu gas field and the Cabora Bassa Project, including the gas production, transportation, and processing infrastructure required to provide natural gas feedstock to the power plant. 

The project will take advantage of the proximity of the Mukuyu field to three major interconnectors to the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) grid, which provides the ability to export power to any country in the region. Mbuyu Energy will also enter discussions with several potential customers, including large-scale miners, industrial users, and other high-energy demand sectors, who currently import electricity from neighboring countries or use diesel generators.

The gas-to-power project is a milestone for Zimbabwe’s energy sector and its journey toward a cleaner and more prosperous future. It will also demonstrate the potential of natural gas as a bridge fuel to support the transition to renewable energy sources, which are abundant but intermittent in the region. 

This project would be developed in line with world-class standards and will incorporate cutting-edge carbon reduction technologies. It will also support the further integration of renewable sources of energy into the national grid.

The deal is a testament to the vision and collaboration of Invictus Energy, Mbuyu Energy, and One Gas Resources, who have joined forces to unlock the immense potential of the Mukuyu discovery and pave the way for a sustainable energy future for Zimbabwe and the region.

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