SANTIAGO, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Chilean state-run oil company ENAP said on Thursday that it would look to invest around $800 million per year to 2020, stepping up exploration and refinery capacity and building South America’s first geothermal plant.
The company, which invested an average $290 million annually during the last five years, said it aims to double earnings and add about 940 megawatts to Chile’s grid.
Chile, which produces little in the way of its own hydrocarbons, is facing an energy crunch as demand outstrips supply and prices rocket.
The center-left government of President Michelle Bachelet has pledged energy reforms, which includes a more substantial role for ENAP.
“In recent years ENAP investments have scarcely maintained the company. That is why we have established an aggressive strategy,” Marcelo Tokman, ENAP’s chief executive, said in a statement.
ENAP’s planned exploration is focused on Magallanes, in Chile’s far south. Last month the company signed a deal with ConocoPhillips to study the potential for hydrocarbons in the region.
Tokman said the company would look to increase its capacity to refine crude oil, modernizing and expanding its refineries in Concon and Hualpen, as well as expanding its Quintero gas terminal.
ENAP also said it would build a geothermal plant, without giving further details.
Reporting by Rosalba O'Brien and Fabian Cambero; editing by Matthew Lewis