Cuba estimates 2011 oil, gas output at four mn tonnes

December 22nd, 2011 - 11:44 am ICT by IANS  

Havana, Dec 22 (IANS/EFE) Cuba’s basic industry minister said the island produced an estimated four million tonnes of oil equivalent in 2011, an amount roughly unchanged from the previous four years, state media reported.

During an appearance Tuesday before the National Assembly’s Energy and Environment Committee, Tomas Benitez said this year’s result was equivalent to about half of the island’s oil and gas consumption, the state-run Prensa Latina news agency reported.

Development of Cuba’s oil and gas wells, some of which have been in service for up to three decades, is being carried out in compliance with international standards, Benitez said.

A report presented by the Energy and Environment Committee, meanwhile, said this year’s production represents just over 98 percent of planned output, attributing the shortfall to inferior results at some new wells and technological difficulties.

Executives from Cuban state oil company Cupet also presented lawmakers with a plan for increasing revenues from the sector, including ensuring sufficient funding, signing necessary agreements with foreign suppliers, carrying out repairs of crude storage and treatment tanks and increasing drilling efficiency.

Cuba’s most promising oil region is the Exclusive Economic Zone, located in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and estimated to hold between 5 billion and 9 billion barrels of petroleum.

The EEZ covers some 112,000 sq. km and is divided into 59 blocks of 2,000 sq. km each, 22 of which have been awarded to foreign companies such as Spain’s Repsol-YPF, Venezuela’s PDVSA and Vietnam’s PetroVietnam.

According to official figures, the island also has 13 onshore blocks - eight awarded to Cupet and five to foreign companies.

Cupet is awaiting the arrival of a Chinese-built, Repsol-hired rig that will conduct exploratory drilling and determine the oil potential of Cuba’s territorial waters.

Cuba’s oil and gas output has stabilized over the past five years at a level of four million tons of oil equivalent, according to the Basic Industry Ministry, which says that production represented revenues of more than $1.3 billion in 2010.

–IANS/EFE
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