5 Companies That Should Benefit From Cuba's Deepwater Drilling
by: Thomas Smicklas July 05, 2010
As reported in Friday's Wall Street Journal, Cuba will begin deepwater
drilling early next year. The first well to be drilled will be done by
Repsol YPF a scant sixty miles south of Key West. Repsol (REP) will use
a floating drill rig presently being repaired in a Chinese shipyard
which is almost identical to the Deepwater Horizon unit of BP (BP) fame,
with the addition of five blowout devices instead of the four on
Deepwater Horizon. Almost all parts and components of the rig, reports
the WSJ, are from non-US companies. Thanks to a 1977 treaty between
Jimmy Carter and Fidel, the Straits of Florida were divided equally
between Cuba and the United States, which gives Cuba the right to drill
so close to the U.S. land boundary.
Inspires hope and confidence, doesn't it? And there are many more oil
projects off the Cuban coast from Havana to the Yucatan Channel to
follow. Repsol's partners in Cuba include Statoil ASA (STO) and India's
state-run Oil and Natural Gas. Eight other oil companies hold fossil
fuel leases from the Castro Brothers, including Petrobas (PBR) and
Sherrit International (SHERF.PK).
It appears as though anything that President Obama does to curtail
drilling for fossil fuels in the Gulf of Mexico fails to stop other
countries from exploiting the billions of dollars in fossil fuel energy
stored beneath the waves. We lose. Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and other
Caribbean countries win.
Investors should monitor this series of events, as well as Cuba's
efforts to extract fossil fuels and minerals on land, via companies such
as Freeport-McMoran (FCX).
By most measures, Cuba itself is an awful place to do business. Cuba,
for the companies named above, is a small part of their overall
operation. The takeway is that the United States can remove U.S. Gulf of
Mexico oil production through regulation, Florida Governor and Senate
hopeful Charlie Crist can propose an amendment to the Florida
constitution to forever ban drilling off the Florida coast and we can
spend our way to alternative energy oblivion while right under the nose
of the most powerful nation on earth, deep water drilling en masse will
commence with the lion's share of profits going to our adversaries.