Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Thursday 17th April, 2008

Cuba to start oil exploration in Gulf of Mexico
IANS Thursday 17th April, 2008

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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