Green horizons

Chile's ENAP and global partners forge the path to hydrogen future. 

Chile’s National Petroleum Company (“ENAP”) has embarked on a transformative venture alongside global energy leaders, aiming to establish the nation’s most extensive green hydrogen infrastructure. The alliance, involving Total Eren Chile, HIF Chile, FreePower Group, Grupo EDF, RWE and HNH Energy, focuses on repurposing the Gregorio Maritime Terminal in the Region de Magallanes. Their objective is to expedite the production and commercialisation of green hydrogen and its derivatives, marking a significant step towards Chile’s renewable energy goals. 

Leveraging ENAP’s expertise in exploration and the Magallanes region is paramount. “Although ENAP has had problems in recent years and suffers from excessive bureaucracy and inefficiencies,” explained the Director of a large Chilean energy company “there is consensus about the technical capabilities of its engineers, who have led hydrocarbon exploration and extraction since the mid-1940s.”  

Despite recent challenges and perceived bureaucratic inefficiencies stemming from its state-owned status and political pressures, “ENAP has experience especially in the region.” The region, notably Gregorio, “exhibits interesting wind conditions,” commented the mining company director, “particularly in the extreme south, as well as extensive maritime routes” enhancing its appeal. “The projects in this area are well integrated, but integration with the rest of the country and the production chain remains to be seen.” 

“The projects in this area are well integrated, but integration with the rest of the country and the production chain remains to be seen.”

Director of a mining company, Chile

Back in 2020, Chile announced its maiden green hydrogen strategy. However, regulatory, incentive and financial measures necessary for its implementation faced delays. While there’s substantial interest, some remain cautious, citing the need for more definitive steps before commitment. Chile aspires to leverage its renewable energy capabilities to become the world’s most cost-efficient hydrogen producer by 2030. “This project is in a sense a pilot in which it is hoped to test the real feasibility.” The Chilean mining company director continued, “the participating companies expect to continue developing successive, albeit limited, stages.”

Nevertheless, critics advocate for prioritising reductions in domestic fossil fuel usage before allocating resources to export-oriented projects. “Chile’s main advantages are well identified,” the energy director highlighted. “Regulatory problems have affected all types of infrastructure, investment and even non-conventional renewable energy projects in different areas of the country.” Brazil and Mexico also draw attention to green hydrogen development for exports, yet their strategies remain nascent.

“Regulatory problems have affected all types of infrastructure, investment and even non-conventional renewable energy projects in different areas of the country.”

Director of a large energy company, Chile

The initial phase will entail feasibility studies to evaluate construction, operational requisites and upgrades of maritime terminals for enhanced storage and export facilities. Aligned with ENAP’s Enabling and Integrating Infrastructure Plan, the initiative aims to adapt existing facilities in various regions to accommodate hydrogen production, following the 2023-2027 Business Plan. According to the Chilean energy director, “The strategy of promoting these projects from outside the south of the country, with very favourable conditions, and allowing private conglomerates to drive development has been correct.” 

Gloria Maldonado, ENAP’s Board President, underscores the strategic significance of this agreement in advancing Chile’s developmental and environmental sustainability objectives. “ENAP’s contribution has been positive, especially in territorial definitions, identifying the local advantages of potential sites,” endorsed the mining director. ENAP’s General Manager, Julio Friedmann, emphasises the importance of public-private collaboration in Chile’s energy transition. The mining director “believes that this project could go well judging by the prestige of the companies involved and the installed capacity to date.” 

“ENAP’s contribution has been positive, especially in territorial definitions, identifying the local advantages of potential sites.”

Mining director, Chile

Representatives from partner organisations resonate on the theme of collaboration. Antoine Liane of Total Eren Chile underscores the importance of shared infrastructure, while Pablo Schoennenbeck of HNH Energy highlights the collaborative resilience factor. EDF Renewables Chile’s CEO, Matías Steinacker, commends the alliance for its sustainable approach to addressing regional concerns. Meanwhile, Víctor Turpaud from HIF Global sees the agreement as a critical step for clean energy development in Magallanes and FreePower Group’s CEO, Juan Walker, views the project as instrumental in positioning Chile as a competitive force in the green hydrogen market. Alfredo Zañartu, RWE’s Chile Country Manager, emphasises the partnership’s pivotal role in realising Chile’s potential as a global leader in green hydrogen. 

This collaboration signifies a defining moment for Chile’s renewable energy aspirations, showcasing a blend of public and private efforts aimed at elevating the nation’s standing in the burgeoning global green hydrogen market.  

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