By Owen Mandovha
THE Forestry Commission has awarded three forests to Invictus Energy for managing carbon emissions as the oil and gas drilling project gets off the ground this month.
Environmentalists have raised concern over the emission of greenhouse gases in the absence of a comprehensive plan to contain high carbon emissions from the Muzarabani Oil and Gas Drilling Project.
This has seen the Forestry Commission and Invictus Energy entering into a landmark agreement where the mining company was awarded land covering over 300 000 hectares of forests to offset carbon emissions by participating in what is called the global carbon market.
Forestry Commission Deputy Director General, Ms Joyce Gombe spoke on the latest development in Harare this Tuesday.
“We flighted an international tender for the Gwayi, Sikumi and Ngamo forests under the RED plus project and this is going to reduce the degradation of these forests by being carefully managed by Invictus and the growth of these will increase the amount of carbon emissions absorbed and there will also be technology that will be applied for the careful preservation of the forests,” she said.
Carbon markets analyst, Mr Jeffery Gogo noted that the three forests identified as carbon offset projects will absorb more carbon emissions than what the Muzarabani Oil and Gas project will produce, allowing the trade of excess carbon credits on the global market.
“There is a potential to create extra carbon offset credits to the tune of 15 million tonnes given the size of the reserves of 81 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves and at the prevailing rate of US$7 per tonne that will translate to over US$100 million,” said Gogo.
Another environmentalist, Mr Archieford Chemhere said the development is massive as Zimbabwe charts a new journey in oil and gas exploration.
“Oil and gas drilling pose massive environmental challenges, but for Zimbabwe coming up with this plan is very good in that it offsets any extra carbon emissions,” he noted.
Invictus Energy has established the Miombo Forest Carbon Investments to manage the forests.
Zimbabwe will this month witness the drilling of the first exploratory well in the Muzarabani basin.