President Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, said on Thursday that an Australian company discovered oil deposits in Zimbabwe's Mozambique border.
Economists, however, said that it was too early to start a fuel-stricken country with a champagne plug.
Mnangagwa said in an emergency press conference that "important news for Zimbabwe."
"The government of Zimbabwe has worked with Invictus Energy Limited for the past few months using oil and gas," he said. "In the early 1990s, Invictus utilizes the data generated by Mobil Oil when extensive oil and gas work has been carried out in the great Muzaraban area since Invictus has shown that the findings are positive and refer to gas and oil wells. "
Invictus Energy is based in Perth, Australia. On his site, he describes himself as an independent oil and gas exploration company focusing on Africa's high-energy resources south of Sahara. "
According to Winston Chitando, Minister of Energy of Zimbabwe, the oil and gas deposits are in a 200 square kilometer area and Africa's largest oil reserves have been recognized so far. He said that with adequate funding, drilling and research will start until 2020.
The news came at the time when the Zimbabwe fuel shortage suffered, including the point.
Independent economist John Robertson called for energy cautiousness.
"Drilling can take a couple of years, because they go deeper and have not got the equipment yet," he said, and noted that the declared deposits are working in a "very difficult area" and that a lot of money needs to be raised to set up rigs. "People who raise this money must be cautious, it's easy to promise to be a good result, but sometimes it's very difficult to achieve."
Invictus Energy officials did not speak to journalists at Mnangagwa's press conference. The chairman said the company will update its shareholders on Friday.