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Chilean oil, gas and petrochemicals

Oilfield Technology,

Oil and gas

Chile suffers from a severe deficit of hydrocarbon supplies and has a high dependence on imported energy feedstock. BMI has also said that the country does indeed recognise the unlikelihood of a trend reversal, and is implementing a new national energy strategy to spur on greater development of the sector where there are opportunities and the country’s government administration is continuing to keep the economy liberal as well as encouraging foreign investment and keeping regulatory transparency. LNG import facilities are the most obvious immediate opportunities for Chile, according to BMI as it will give the country the ability to expand its options to meet ever growing domestic demand. In the long term, BMI believes that Chile would be smart to explore the possibility of tapping into unconventional resources in the Magallanes region.

Taking a closer look at the country’s minimal reserves, BMI has reported that it is home to 147.8 million bbls of crude oil, which is the same as 13 months of consumption of refined products. Crude reserves are depleting at an average rate of 1.5% /y, and by 2023, BMI estimate that Chile’s crude reserves will stand at 136.9 million bbls. When it comes to gas, the country had domestic reserves of 96.8 billion m3 in 2014, and this is expected to decrease to 93 billion m3 by 2023. By the end of 2023, BMI expect Chile to only be able to fulfil 15% of its gas requirements domestically.

Looking at the refining sector, ENAP has three refineries with a capacity of 226 000 bpd. They have a current utilisation rate of 85% and supply 61% of the country’s demand for refined products. ENAP is reportedly looking into the modernisation of these facilities in the hope of increasing total output and improve the utilisation rates and allow them to produce more high end products such as jet fuel and gasoline.


BMI has said that Chile’s petrochemicals sector is going to remain a marginal and local player that will struggle to compete in the domestic market due to big capacity slashes last year. Also, feedstock restraints are undermining production and investment and the Chilean market is to become import dependent in the medium term. It is the shortfall in gas feedstock that BMI has said has been particularly problematic for the petrochemicals industry at times of high energy demand during the winter months. Last year, methanol production was cut as a result of the closure of two methanol plants due to insufficient natural gas feedstock to operate.

Adapted from reports by Claira Lloyd

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