Cuba to start oil exploration in Gulf of MexicoApril 17th, 2008 - 5:38 pm ICT by admin
Havana, April 17 (IANS) Spurred by experts’ reports that Cuba is sitting on oil, the government has decided to start drilling in the Gulf of Mexico next year, Spain’s EFE news agency reported Thursday. “We are currently studying the seismic activities in the Gulf of Mexico and next year we would start petroleum exploration there,” the official daily Juventud Rebelde Wednesday quoted Industry Minister Yadira Garcia as saying.
Following initial seismic reports suggesting that the island may have huge oil reserves, international oil firms have shown special interests in the area.
India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, which shares prospecting rights in the area with Spain’s Repsol-YPF and Norway’s Norsk Hydro has been carrying out offshore prospecting in the Gulf.
In addition, Malaysia’s Petronas, Canada’s Sherritt, Venezuela’s PDVSA and Vietnam’s PetroVietnam have signed contracts to operate in the area. Brazil’s Petrobras is currently studying the possibility of acquiring similar contracts in the region.
Garcia said several US oil companies are also interested in doing business in the region.
“There have been meetings with businessmen who have been asking questions, looking for information … They have had an interest in operating in Cuba, but they are blocked from doing so,” he said, referring to Washington’s 45-year-old economic embargo against the communist-ruled island.
According to an estimate of the US Geological Service, Cuba might have petroleum reserves of up to 4.6 billion barrels of oil in its territorial waters in the Gulf of Mexico, covering an area of around 112,000 sq. km
Garcia said if a positive result comes out from the current prospecting, Cuba would be able to export petroleum by 2011 or 2012.
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Tags: economic embargo, efe news agency, gulf of mexico, industry minister, international oil, juventud rebelde, norsk hydro, oil exploration, oil firms, pdvsa, petroleum exploration, petroleum reserves, petronas, petrovietnam, repsol ypf, seismic activities, sherritt, territorial waters, us geological service, yadira