Chile's oil corporation ENAP began drilling for natural gas last February 15 in continental Magallanes Region in an area identified as Dorado-Riquelme to the north east of Punta Arenas.
The well Palengue 1, is nine kilometres north east of a first drill Baqueano 1, and is planned to reach a depth of 2.350 meters. The operation is in the framework of the Tertiary Exploratory Project which based on seismic 3D geological data collected last year in an area of 1.800 square kilometres expects to drill six wells totalling an investment of 37 million US dollars. The other blocks are Puerto Sara, Punta del Cerro, Crucero and Manzano. Drilling in Baqueano 1 began December 29 and reached 790 meters with good signs of hydrocarbons and petro-physics. However it was later abandoned because of the presence of water in the samples extracted. ENAP is hopeful that this second well, Palenque 1, will drill through rather different geological formations avoiding the presence of water.