Apache Corporation has been awarded rights to explore the Lenga and Rusfin blocks in the Magallanes Basin on the island of Tierra del Fuego in Chile.

Apache will operate both of the Chilean blocks, with a 50% interest in Lenga and a 100% interest in Rusfin. Empresa Nacional del Petroleo, Chile’s national oil company, will hold the remaining interest in the Lenga Block.

The Rusfin Block comprises 0.87 million exploration acres and the Lenga Block totals 0.34 million exploration acres. Apache has committed to acquire 600 square kilometers of 3D seismic and drill two exploration wells, for a combined investment of $18.3 million during the first phase of the exploration period.

Steven Farris, president and CEO of Apache, said: Apache’s entry into Chile adds to our drilling opportunities with one million acres in a known hydrocarbon province in a stable governmental and economic regime. Given the proximity to our Tierra del Fuego operations, these blocks represent a natural extension of our expanding exploration and production operations and knowledge base.