SANTIAGO – The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the Glauconitica zone of Chile’s southernmost Magallanes region holds nearly 8.3 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable, unconventional tight gas, or nearly double Chile’s production of that fossil fuel over the past 70 years.
Chilean state-owned energy company ENAP said those reserves would be sufficient for eventually creating a petrochemical pole in the area and even supplying natural gas to the rest of the South American country.
“The study is important because it was carried out using specific geological information from the basin and took into account the results of ‘tight gas’ wells currently in production,” ENAP said in a statement.
The USGS provided a mean estimate of 8.27 trillion cubic feet of gas and 83 million barrels of natural gas liquids. By comparison, Chile’s total gas production since 1945 amounts to 4.2 trillion cubic feet.
Based on its calculations, there is a 95 percent chance that the Glauconitica zone holds at least 2.46 trillion cubic feet of gas and 23 million barrels of natural gas liquids and a 5 percent chance that it holds at least 16.29 trillion cubic feet of gas and 172 million barrels of natural gas liquids.
The USGS said the range of resource estimates “reflects considerable geologic uncertainty, particularly with respect to the geologic boundaries of the Zona Glauconitica AU.”
Therefore, “other unconventional oil and gas accumulations might be present in the Magallanes Basin Province ... but these potential accumulations were not quantitatively assessed at this time.”