Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. PHOTO: ANA Reporter

HARARE - A day after Zimbabwe's cash strapped government announced a possible life line, Invictus, the Australian company prospecting for oil in Muzarabani, denied it had found any oil deposits.

On Thursday Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) listed entity Invictus Energy (IVZ), had discovered oil and gas deposits in the southern African country’s Mashonaland Central Province.

"We have since been advised by Invictus that the findings are positive and point to oil and gas deposits in the area," Mnangagwa claimed, adding that an exploration well would be sunk by Invictus in Muzarabani district within two years.

"The result as communicated by Invictus is an exciting development for our country," said the 76-year-old politician.

However, on Friday a statement from the Austrailian firm said: “The company wishes to reiterate that an oil or gas discovery has not been made”.

Dismissing reports to the contrary, the exploration firm said: “At no point did President Mnangagwa state that an oil discovery had been made in Zimbabwe, but that the exploration activity being undertaken by Invictus had positive indications and that an exploration well would be drilled to confirm the potential of the Muzarabani prospect”.

Mobil Oil was the first company to undertake oil and gas studies in Muzarabani in the early 1990s but abandoned the work. Invictus is using the data generated by Mobil.

The Zimbabwe government, which is desperate to turn around its ailing economy, has not commented further.

- African News Agency (ANA)