Enap Preparing Tender for US$22mn Mercedes Gas Pipeline

Chile's state oil company Enap has begun receiving expressions of interest from companies for construction of a US$22mn gas pipeline north from southern Chile's Lago Mercedes basin, an industry source told BNamericas.

Enap is also performing engineering studies for the pipeline.

Enap announced earlier this week it believes there are commercial reserves in the area based on the results of tests on its second well.

The company will compare results with a third well to quantify the field's proven reserves by year-end, the source said.

Total investment in the basin is US$19mn-20mn to date and will reach US$39mn through 2007, the source said.

Drilling for natural gas in Lago Mercedes started in November 2005 and is being carried out by US-based Helmerich & Payne International Drilling (NYSE: HP).

Chile has faced energy shortages due to Argentine natural gas export restrictions and as a result has turned its attention to gas exploration in Region XII and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) re-gasification terminal in Region V.

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