www.guardian.co.uk reported today that a new oil rig will start operating off Cuba's coast in about six to eight weeks.
A consortium lead by Spain's Repsol-YPF will be the first to begin drilling for oil after taking possession of the new oil rig. Repsol drilled a test well in 2004 and at the time said it discovered traces of high quality oil, but it was not commercially viable at the time.
Repsol has an agreement with Cuba for exploration on six offshore blocks and will this time team with Norsk Hydro and ONGC Videsh of India on the project.
One industry source said the drilling platform could eventually be used by other foreign interests for drilling offshore -- especially if results are promising.
American companies will not participate because of the U.S. embargo of Cuba.
The fields off Cuba's northern coast are estimated to contain some 5 billion barrels of oil and 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.