Zimbabwe may start producing its own diesel and petrol within the next 10 years following encouraging exploration findings by Australian company, Invictus Energy, in the Muzarabani area, a Cabinet minister has said.
Discovery of oil, which appears highly likely as evidenced by the results of extensive evaluation of existing and new data using latest technology, will be a major breakthrough for a resource dependent economy facing acute fuel shortage amid crunch foreign currency shortages.
African countries that produce oil frequently run financial surplus on their national budgets while those that import have to pay substantial amounts for oil imports.
The African Development Bank says high oil prices can negatively affect economic growth by constraining key sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando told a Chamber of Mines conference in Victoria Falls last week that Zimbabwe was headed in the right direction regarding exploration for petroleum oil.
This comes as Government has set the target of growing the country's mining sector into a US$12 billion industry by 2023, which forms part of broad interventions towards achieving the Government's vision, espoused by President Mnangagwa, of transforming Zimbabwe into an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
"The US$12 billion (target) does not include the oil. It is a quoted company (doing exploration), so I will not divulge much, suffice to say Zimbabwe is headed in the correct path in terms of having an oil industry.
"Zimbabwe is headed in the correct path in ensuring that by 2030, we have our own diesel, oil being produced from the resources we have," the Minister said to wild applause.
Zimbabwe needs to import all petroleum requirements although pads out petrol with ethanol produced from home-grown sugar cane. Petroleum fuels are the country's largest single import and besides condensate the find includes natural gas that can generate electricity