To support hydrogen economy, Chile’s Enap may adapt Magallanes port infra

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, November 10, 2022
To support hydrogen economy, Chile’s Enap may adapt Magallanes port infra

Chilean state hydrocarbons company Enap is analyzing ways to leverage existing infrastructure – and how to incorporate new investments – in windswept southern region Magallanes.

Multiple gigawatt-scale projects geared chiefly to the export market are planned for barren Magallanes, where a key logistical challenge is getting goods and products in and out of the isolated jurisdiction.

Enap has signed 10 MOUs linked to projects with combined installed capacity of some 50GW, Enap development and innovation director Juris Agüero told prospective Dutch investors and service providers during a trade event in capital Santiago.

In Magallanes, Enap has three maritime oil terminals, at Cabo Negro, San Gregorio and Clarencia. 

Enap’s work is part of a wider country focus that encompasses areas including tourism, territorial planning, industrial development and community engagement and involvement. 

“First of all, we’re looking at the design of projects and how they can use existing infrastructure,” said Agüero, referring to the issue of minimizing environmental impacts by adapting and repurposing. A next phase would involve looking at how to integrate new infrastructure.

“We need to talk a lot [with project developers],” Agüero told the event, organized by Dutch government business support body Netherlands Enterprise Agency, Chilean trade promotion agency ProChile and Chile’s energy ministry. “There is a lot to do.”

Among projects in the design and engineering phase is Total Eren’s gigawatt-scale H2 Magallanes, planned for San Gregorio. Total Eren’s export-focused initiative, which leverages the zone’s abundant wind resources, includes a multipurpose port that is deemed necessary – in addition to Enap facilities – to meet logistical demands.

Total Eren Chile managing director Antoine Liane said: “In order to export we first have to import a lot of equipment … Enap has two facilities which can be upgraded and that’s the idea in the near future, to be able to import via those ports and to be able to export. But 50GW: we’re not going to be able to import that through only those two ports.”

He added, “our perception is that we require an additional port to move import equipment and export product, and that’s why we’re developing our project which contains a multipurpose terminal which we think could alleviate the existing ports of Enap and work together with the existing ports in order to allow for the construction of the local industry and then export to the offtakers, to the European and Asian markets.”

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Various projects, targeting both export markets and local demand, are in the design and engineering phase. Key challenges include production-offtake coordination.

Chile’s first green hydrogen and synthetic fuels pilot plant, Haru Oni, is being built in Magallanes region, led by Chilean player HIF and with partners including the local unit of Italy's Enel

Among other developments on the green hydrogen front, US energy firm AES’s Chilean unit recently announced the first green hydrogen open season in Chile, linked to a planned production facility on the site of a thermoelectric power station in northern region Antofagasta and targeting local offtakers. The power plant is due to be shut down after 2025 as part of a wider decarbonization agreement between generators and the government.  

As things stand, Magallanes region production will chiefly be exported. In the country’s sundrenched north – home to the mining industry and closer to population hubs – domestic offtakers are expected to account for a bigger chunk.   

To help support growth of an exporting industry, Chile has signed MOUs with several ports in Europe, including Holland’s biggest, Rotterdam. Chilean and Dutch officials are working on joint initiatives. Europe is expected to both produce and import green hydrogen and derivatives as it works to decarbonize its economy and build energy resilience. 

ALSO READ: Chile, Europe laying the foundations for green hydrogen exports

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