Friday, October 17, 2008

Cuba claims massive oil reserves

North Cuban Basin


Page last updated at 04:08 GMT, Friday, 17 October 2008 05:08 UK

The state-owned Cuban oil company says the country may have more than 20bn barrels of oil in its offshore fields - more than double the previous estimate.

Cubapetroleo's exploration manager said drilling in the offshore wells would begin as early as the middle of 2009.

Such reserves would place Cuba among the top 20 oil producing nations.

Cubapetroleo's estimates are based on comparisons to known oil reserves found within similar geological structures off the coasts of the US and Mexico.

The company said Cuba had undersea geology "very similar" to that surrounding Mexico's giant Cantarell and Poza Rica oil fields in the Bay of Campeche.

'More data'

Cuba's share of the Gulf of Mexico was established in 1977, when it signed treaties with the US and Mexico.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) recently estimated that as much as 9bn barrels of oil and 21 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could lie within that zone, in the North Cuba Basin.

However, Cubapetroleo exploration manager Rafael Tenreyro Perez said his company's estimate was higher because it had better information about Cuba's offshore geology.

"I'm almost certain that if [USGS officials] ask for all the data we have, their estimate is going to grow considerably," he told a news conference in the capital, Havana.

If correct, Cuba's oil reserves would be almost the same as those of the US - 21bn barrels, according to the Oil & Gas Journal - and nearly twice the size of Mexico's - 11.7bn barrels.

It could generate unprecedented wealth for the Communist-run state.

Mr Tenreyro said he expected the first production well to be drilled before the middle of next year by a consortium led by the Spanish oil company, Repsol, and that more wells could be started before 2010.

Cuba currently produces 60,000 barrels of oil a day.

It depends on Venezuela for an additional 93,000 barrels a day, which it receives at preferential rates in exchange for the services of thousands of Cuban doctors working in Venezuela.


Mark said...

One question that appears to have been missed in discussion of the potential US role in Cuba's oil sector is whether Cuba either needs or wants US involvement in exploiting her oil (or any other) resources. Why would she if one takes into account the hypocrisy and lies which underpin US (and British) involvement in Iraq and her oil resources ? Why expose herself to attempts of economic dominance that successive US governments and its crony relationships with oil companies have employed elsewhere in the world ? Cuba has stood resolutely and maintained her sovereignty and dignity against incessant US aggression for decades. She has the absolute right to decide the manner in which her own resources are used for the benefit of her own people. The USA blew the opportunity nearly 50 years ago. Get with it, there's a new order: China buys US government paper to fund more consumption by the USA of products made in China - where's the dignity in that ? The leaders of US financial institutions have been shown to be self-serving and self-aggrandising without humility (how many have fallen on their own swords to acknowledge the hardship and burden they are responsible for loading onto the shoulders of US tax payers ?). The USA becomes increasingly dependent on foreign sources of investment to sustain (a deficit driven economy): where is the self-respect in that ? The USA now needs the rest of the world more than the rest of the world needs the USA. Whither the American Dream ?

Cuba Journal said...

You bring up several interesting and important points. I agree with most of what you say. Cuba has to be very careful in its dealings with the United States. Capitalism does not understand the meaning of the word dignity. All they ever care about is their never ending greed.

Unfortunately Cuba and the U.S. are neighbors, and must learn to live with that fact.

To me, what is important is that Cuba will continue to defend and protect its national sovereignty and independence.