Russia to help Cuba with oil projects
2 days ago
MOSCOW (AP) — Leading Russian oil companies pledged to help Cubapetroleo
with prospecting, production, refining and other aspects of the oil
industry under an agreement signed in Moscow on Friday before Cuban
President Raul Castro's visit next week, Russian news agencies reported.
The memorandum of understanding calls for cooperation on activities
"from geological work to drilling, refining and sales" of oil, ITAR-Tass
and Interfax quoted Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, a point man for
the economic side of Russia's renewed push for influence in Latin
America, as saying.
He said contracts for the development of Cuba's oil industry would be
drafted, and specified that "there are good prospects for the
development of sea terminals," the reports said. He said Russians will
train Cubans for oil industry work, according to Interfax.
The memorandum was signed by representatives of Cubapetroleo and a
Russian consortium comprising Gazprom Neft, TNK-BP, Zarubezhneft,
Rosneft and Surgutneftegaz, Sechin said.
He said the agreement does not bar individual Russian and Cuban oil
companies from working together, and that companies from other Latin
American countries could also cooperate.
The Soviet Union provided billions of dollars in trade and annual
subsidies to its Communist ally Cuba before the 1991 Soviet collapse.
The Kremlin has moved to rebuild old ties with Cuba and Nicaragua, and
cultivate new friends such as Venezuela, to flex its muscles close to
the United States.
On Thursday, ITAR-Tass quoted Raul Castro as saying in an interview that
Russia and Cuba enjoy "wonderful relations" again, after a pause in the
Russian officials had announced that Castro would visit Russian in late
January, and Sechin said Friday that the main meetings during his visit
will take place Jan. 30.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev wrapped up a Latin American tour in
November in Cuba, where he met with Castro and his brother, the longtime
leader Fidel Castro.
Russia sent a navy squadron to the Caribbean, with warships making port
calls in several countries including Cuba.
Sechin said Russia and Cuba would continue their "military-technical
cooperation," meaning weapons trade and training, but he gave no
details, the reports said.