Cuban oil explorer lifted by easing U.S. sanctions
MEO Australia is one of the few foreign companies working in the Cuban
By Daniel J. Graeber | Oct. 18, 2016 at 5:40 AM
MELBOURNE, Oct. 18 (UPI) — One of the few foreign energy companies
working in Cuba said the momentum is moving in its favor as the U.S.
government eases restrictions on its Cold War foe.
The Cuban government in 2014 enacted legislation offering corporate tax
credits to encourage foreign investments. The U.S. government the same
year started easing a 54-year trade embargo on Cuba and later reopened
its embassy in Havana.
Last week, the U.S. President Barack Obama issued an executive directive
that could open Cuba to a role in institutions like the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which Washington said could provide an
advantage to the Cuban economy.
MEO Australia Ltd. is one of the few foreign companies operating in the
Cuban oil and gas sector. CEO Peter Stickland said the policy directive
could also give his company access to U.S. counterparts with expertise
“The ongoing easing of U.S. government restrictions on business dealings
with Cuba is clearly a positive step for MEO,” he said in a statement.
According to MEO, Cuba produces about 80,000 barrels of oil per day.
Cuba is the company’s highest priority asset, drilling a number of wells
already in so-called Block 9.
Estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey last year found there were
about 4.6 billion barrels of crude oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of
natural gas in the form of undiscovered, technically recoverable,
reserves in Cuba.
MEO said it estimated that Block 9, located along the northern coast of
Cuba, holds around 8 billion barrels of oil in place and has the
potential to produce nearly 400 million barrels.
Cuba-focused and London-based investor Leni Gas Cuba took a 15.8 percent
stake in MEO Australia in exchange for $1.4 million to support an
exploration program covering 900 square miles of an oil exploration
block near the coast of Cuba in February.
Source: Easing U.S. restrictions a win for Cuban oil explorer – UPI.com