Invictus Energy Limited, which is exploring oil and gas in the Cabora Bassa Basin, has been awarded three carbon offset projects in the south of the country, covering a combined 301 565 hectares of indigenous forests.
More generally, carbon offsetting is any reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to make up for emissions that occur elsewhere.
The projects, entered into under a 30-year contract with the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe (FCZ), are for the development of the Ngamo-Gwayi-Sikumi (NGS) REDD+ project.
REDD+, which stands for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, was created by the United Nations under its Framework Convention on Climate Change to reduce carbon emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
In a statement seen by NewsDay, the Australian Securities Exchange-listed firm said the contract was part of its sustainable plan to manage emissions. Invictus managing director Scott Macmillan said on Wednesday:
The award of these carbon offset projects marks a significant milestone for Invictus and will make Cabora Bassa one of the first carbon neutral oil and gas projects from the exploration phase to decommissioning, if our upcoming drilling campaign is a success.
We actively sought a carbon management solution that would benefit the country and communities where we operate.
This project will not only offset our emissions, but help ensure preservation of Zimbabwe’s rich biodiversity, aiding both forestry and wildlife conservation efforts, while also creating jobs and sustainable incomes for the entire region.
Additional revenue generated from carbon credits will also aid the work Invictus is doing to improve health and education in the local communities where we operate, well beyond the initial 30-year term of the initial NGS REDD+ project.
Macmillan said the NGS REDD+ project uniquely positions Invictus and the Cabora Bassa project as one of the first carbon-neutral oil and gas companies and projects in the world.
He added that the company looked forward to partnering with the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe and implementing the project to protect indigenous forests in the Ngamo-Gwayi and Sikumi areas.
The company has committed a total of US$1.5 million comprising US$450 000 upfront; a further US$450 000 within 12 months; and a final US$600 000 within 24 months of execution.
Invictus’ new division, Miombo Forest Carbon Investments (MFCI) will develop and manage the NGS REDD+ project.
It will then share all profits from the sale of carbon credits with FCZ equally.