Environmental AssessmentINERCO Chile

INERCO, the leading environmental advisor for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Chile

INERCO has participated in the environmental section of the hydraulic fracturing project for four wells and three multi-wells managed by ENAP, located at the Arenal Block in the Magallanes Region, near the city of Punta Arenas. Specifically, these wells are located in PAD Punta Piedra Oeste ZG-1 (4 wells), PAD Cortado Creek ZG-1 (7 wells), PAD Estancia Rita ZG-1 (6 wells) and the single wells of Lautaro Sur ZG-A, Barwick ZG-1, Huiro 1 (Ex B) and Progreso ZG-1.

The aim of this project is to enhance the productivity of hydrocarbons located inside the Arenal block by means of a hydraulic fracturing operation in the Glauconite Formation, a process which will enable the reservoir’s area of contact with the areas around the wells to be increased, thus extracting the hydrocarbons located inside the reservoir at a cost-effective rate of flow.

Hydraulic fracturing is a well-stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by injecting a pressurized liquid – increasing the permeability of the rock and the reservoir’s area of contact-, with the aim of creating new channels or connecting existing flow-channels, increasing the well’s rate of flow and productivity.

INERCO’s experience in environmental management has been crucial in this important initiative in the field of oil&gas in Chile, with an investment amounting to US$21,000 million. The company was commissioned to draw up the environmental studies and process the documents to obtain the environmental approval, which has already been obtained with the relevant Environmental Assessment Decision (EAD).

The aim of the wells that will undergo this process is to obtain production from the Glauconite Formation, located approximately 1,500 and 3,000 mbmsl (metres below mean sea level).

Rock permeability in conventional hydrocarbon reservoirs (such as Springhill in Magallanes) is approximately 5 to 1,500 millidarcy, however, in unconventional reservoirs, the rock permeability ranges between 0.001 and 0.04 millidarcy. Given the low permeability, hydraulic fracturing is required, otherwise the confined hydrocarbons could not be extracted.

The wells that will be fractured obtained a favourable EAD for the perforation processes, with EAD No. 201/2015 for the Punta Piedra Oeste ZG-1, Cortado Creek ZG-1, Estancia Rita ZG-1, Barwick ZG-1 wells and Progreso ZG-1, EAD No. 147/2012 for the Lautaro Sur ZG-A well and EAD No. 035/2015 for the Huiro 1 (Ex B) well.

Furthermore, it is worth pointing out that the single wells, Punta Piedra Oeste ZG-1, Cortado Creek ZG-1 and Estancia Rita ZG-1, obtained favourable EADs for the fracturing process for EAD No. 102/2016. The perforation and fracturing results for these wells established favourable exploratory results to extend the single wells to multi-wells (PAD) within the guidelines established in EAD No. 201/2015.

In this regard, the Environmental Impact Declaration focused on fracturing the multi-well pads and the single wells of P Punta Piedra Oeste ZG-1, Cortado Creek ZG-1 and Estancia Rita ZG-1 will not be fractured again. The fracturing process focuses on the Punta Piedra Oeste ZG-1, PAD Cortado Creek ZG-1 and PAD Estancia Rita ZG-1 Well Pads, with four, seven and six wells respectively.

 Environmental expert for the KALKIN ZG1 Well project

In this regard, INERCO is the consultancy firm responsible for the documentation for processing the environmental approval before the relevant authorities in the Pozo Kalkin ZG1 project, with an investment of US$1,900 million, which has also used hydraulic fracturing on a vertical hydrocarbon well located in the Coirón Block, in the southern region of Chile, in Punta Arenas – the Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica.

The reservoir in question belongs to the Glauconite Formation, located at a depth ranging between 2,000 and 2,600 mbmsl.

This formation – with a favourable Environmental Qualification Resolution for hydraulic fracturing (EAD No. 141/2016)) – has proved, through various prior studies, the existence of a reservoir with confined hydrocarbons, which have not been able to be extracted given the low rock permeability.



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The Author

César Escobar Merino

César Escobar Merino

Gerente general INERCO Consultoria Chile