Chile’s geothermal energy is forecast to reach 16,000 MW

Origin Energy Limited (‘Origin’) has acquired a 40 per cent interest in Energía Andina S.A. ("EASA"), Chile’s leading geothermal exploration company. EASA will continue to be 60 per cent owned by Antofagasta Minerals S.A. ("AMSA").

EASA, which was founded in 2008, has established a portfolio of eight geothermal exploration projects in the Northern and Central regions of Chile, covering a total of 553,400 ha.

Origin’s Executive Director, Finance and Strategy, Karen Moses said, "This investment in EASA supports our pursuit of geothermal opportunities in growing markets offshore and provides us with an established presence in the Chilean market.

"It is our view that geothermal can provide large scale renewable base load energy and Chile has significant potential from a resource and growing local demand perspective," Ms Moses said.

Chile is located on the Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’ and has considerable prospective geothermal hot spots, estimated to make up 60 per cent of the total Latin American geothermal resources. Preliminary assessment of the geothermal potential of Chile indicates a possible 16,000 MW of resource available.

Jose Manuel Soffia, Energia Andina CEO said, "EASA’s long-term objective is to become a leading geothermal exploration and development company in Chile, taking advantage of the strong local demand for cleaner, base load and cheaper energy from large industrial players and power distributors."

Origin acquired the 40 per cent stake in EASA from Empresa Nacional del Petróleo (ENAP) following a competitive bidding process run by ENAP.

Origin Chief Development Officer, David Baldwin said, "With this investment in EASA we have further expanded our geothermal portfolio. We look forward to working with AMSA and contributing Origin’s geothermal experience to successfully develop EASA’s portfolio of geothermal exploration projects."

In addition to its investment in EASA, Origin was awarded the Sorik Marapi geothermal concession in Indonesia last year with Tata Power of India, in consortium with PT Supraco Indonesia. Through its 52 per cent interest in Contact Energy, one of New Zealand’s largest producers of geothermal electricity, Origin has exposure to 290 MW of geothermal generation and 364 MW of geothermal development. Origin also has interests in a number of geothermal exploration joint ventures located in the Cooper Basin, South Australia.