Cuba planning new oil exploration in Gulf of Mexico
Monday, November 09, 2015 | 4:07 PM
HAVANA, Cuba (AFP) — Cuba is organising a new search for oil in the Gulf
of Mexico after four earlier exploratory wells failed to make
commercially viable finds, a state official said Monday.
The new round of drilling in Cuba’s exclusive economic zone in the Gulf
of Mexico is set to begin in late 2016 or early 2017, said Osvaldo
Lopez, head of offshore exploration at state oil company Cupet.
He told state television that Venezuela’s PDVSA and Angola’s Sonangol
will drill for oil at depths of 1,500 meters (4,900 feet).
“We have evidence there are deeper areas generating that oil. What we’re
trying to do is find a way to get to it,” he said.
International experts say the area probably holds five to nine billion
barrels, while the government estimates there are as many as 15 billion
barrels in untapped reserves.
Cuba’s exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Mexico covers 112,000
square kilometers (43,250 square miles).
PDVSA, Spain’s Repsol, Russia’s Gazprom Neft and Malaysia’s PC Gulf have
previously drilled offshore wells, but concluded they were not
Cuba produces about 25 million barrels of oil a year from wells on land
and offshore, but that covers less than half the island’s consumption.
The rest it imports from Venezuela on favourable terms of payment.
Cuban crude is for the most part extra-heavy and used only for electric
power generation and the production of cement, lubricants and asphalt.
Last month, Cupet said it was open to negotiating exploration deals with
US oil companies.
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