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Seeking energy investment in southern Patagonia

In an effort to revitalise its flagging upstream oil sector, which now produces about a quarter of the output of 20 years ago, Chile’s state-owned oil company, Enap, has just introduced a programme to invite foreign oil companies into its tightly held Magallanes Basin fields. The region’s gas industry also appears poised for growth, writes Paul F Hueper, from Tierra del Fuego

Down that gloomy passage ... appearing to lead to another and worse world. When Charles Darwin described his journey through the Strait of Magellan in 1834, he hardly could have foreseen that this remote and harsh region of Patagonia would some day become a focal point for hydrocarbons production and processing in southern Latin America. In 1999, Chile celebrated its 50th year of oil production. And although the Magallanes Basin—encompassing southern Patagonia, the Strait of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego Island—has been extensively developed, a new upstream offering and a variety of downstream gas projects will probably ensure the region draws international attention. Last December, Chile an



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