Chile’s government owned oil and gas company ENAP presented this week the environmental impact study for an exploratory drilling round in the Province of Tierra del Fuego which includes fifteen wells and will demand an investment of 30 million dollars.
The purpose of the project is “to explore new reserves and the extraction of hydrocarbons in the future deposits of sub-blocks Arenal Oeste, Cabaña Norte and Lircay” incorporating a geo-referenced polygon with environmental exclusion areas, where the exact drilling locations have yet to be defined.
The project is set to begin next March 13 and is estimated the whole operation will last twenty years. If as expected hydrocarbons in commercial volumes are confirmed a new environmental impact study for the layout of pipelines will be needed.
The project includes in a first stage the drilling of wells, the construction of access roads, platforms for the industrial backup plus mud pits and other logistic operations.
Magallanes region in the extreme south of Chile which includes Tierra del Fuego is the source of the country’s domestic oil and gas resources. In operation since 1950, many wells are exhausted and annual production has fallen to below two million barrels per annum which represents 3% of the country’s refining capacity.
Currently Chile is investing heavily in oil and gas exploration in the region following on some successful finds by ENAP and by the privately owned Geopark.