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Origin Energy Acquires 40% Stake in Chilean Geothermal Company

May 9 (Bloomberg) -- Origin Energy Ltd., an Australian oil and gas exploration company, bought 40 percent of the Chilean geothermal developer Energia Andina SA as it seeks to tap the regions’s subterranean energy reserves.

Energia Andina has permits to evaluate the geothermal potential of eight sites in northern and central Chile covering 553,400 hectares (1.4 million acres), Sydney-based Origin Energy said today on its website. The price wasn’t disclosed.

Chile may have as much as 16 gigawatts of geothermal resources available, according to the statement, and is estimated to have 60 percent of all of Latin America’s potential underground energy.

“It is our view that geothermal can provide large-scale, renewable, baseload energy and Chile has significant potential,” Origin’s Executive Director Karen Moses said in the statement.

Origin purchased the stake from Chile’s state-owned oil refiner Empresa Nacional del Petroleo. The remaining 60 percent of Santiago-based Energia Andina is owned by the London-based mining company Antofagasta Plc.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net.

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