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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/28/2013 -- Chile's small resource base makes the country heavily dependent upon imports to satisfy demand and promote economic growth. This will persist in spite of some long-term upside potential stemming from the country's shale gas prospects. In the meantime, imported liquefied natural gas will play a greater role in energy security.

The key trends and developments in the Chilean oil and gas sector are:

- In terms of domestic production, we forecast oil output will fall from an estimated 17,280 barrels per day (b/d) in 2012 to 16,5200b/d by 2017 and 16,050b/d by 2022. Meanwhile, gas output will slow from an estimated 1.35bcm in 2012 to 0.95bcm in 2017 and 0.70bcm in 2022.
- At the same time, Chilean consumption of oil and natural gas will continue to increase, if at a slower rate. Namely, with the commodity boom of the prior decade coming to an end, the country is likely to face a slowdown in mining sector activity and real GDP growth. However, while the economic outlook is more moderate over the coming decade than between 2002 and 2012, we still expect the Chilean economy to perform relatively well, such that we forecast that oil use will rise from an estimated 347,000b/d in 2012 to 364,000b/d by 2017, growing to reach a forecasted 391,000b/d by 2022. We are also forecasting gas consumption rising from an estimated 5.0bcm in 2012 to 6.5bcm in 2017 and 8.3bcm by 2022. This will ensure a continued heavy feedstock import burden on the state-owned Empresa Nacional del Petroleo (ENAP).
- We believe that if Chile is to address the mismatch between supply and demand for hydrocarbons in the country, its best hope lies in exploration taking place in the Magallanes region in the south of the country. Indeed, the advent of technology capable of extracting oil and gas from shale formations has given Chile reason for optimism over the long term, with EIA estimates suggesting that the Magallanes region may contain up to 2.4bn barrels of technically recoverable shale oil and condensate and 1.36trn cubic metres of shale gas. Although we have not taken this into account in our forecasts as production is still in a nascent stage, it remains a significant upside risk in the long term.

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