ENAP, Methanex Petition Chile for E&P of Dorado-Riquelme Block

Empresa Nacional del Petroleo (ENAP) and Methanex Chile today signed an agreement to request Chile's Ministry of Mining for a special petroleum operating contract (CEOP) in order to increase gas exploration and production activity in the Dorado-Riquelme Block in the 12th Region of Magallanes. The agreement was signed by the manager of ENAP's Exploration and Production Division, Nelson Munoz, and the director of Gas Supplies and Governmental Relations of Methanex, Francisco Ajenjo.

The Dorado-Riquelme Block is located 120 kilometers northeast of the city of Punta Arenas. ENAP has been carrying out exploration activities in that zone since 2005.

The request contemplates commitments of investments to be defined between the parties and is estimated to amount to approximately US$ 100 million for the first three years of the term of the CEOP. This includes exploration well drilling, exploitation and the construction of infrastructure for the transport and sale of hydrocarbons. ENAP will also remain as operator of the Block.

Nelson Munoz said that this agreement will permit increasing investment and project development in exploration in Magallanes. "We believe that this agreement has solid bases for being accepted favorably by the state of Chile, represented by the Ministry of Mining. ENAP will also continue being operator of the Dorado-Riquelme Block and we expect to obtain good results and meet the demand for natural gas that ENAP has from Methanex".

Francisco Ajenjo, for his part, stressed that "this was a very positive agreement for our company that contributes to meeting our objective of accelerating the availability of new gas in Magallanes, increasing the supply of Chilean natural gas in order to again operate our plants at full capacity. Working with ENAP, our major supplier of natural gas in Chile and with which we have enjoyed 20 years of close collaboration, is a valuable opportunity for intensifying this public-private sector relationship that represents an additional impulse for the regional economy".