Drilling to start on first oil well in Cuba’s exclusive zone in the Gulf of Mexico
To be undertaken by the Spanish Repsol YPF company, as announced in the first Cuba-U.S. business round of 2004, attended by 400-plus businesspeople and authorities from 30 U.S. states
BY RAISA PAGES—Granma International staff writer—
THE Spanish company Repsol YPF is to start drilling the first oil well in Cuba’s exclusive zone in the Gulf of Mexico, announced Juan Fleites, vice president of the Cuba-Petroleo company.
Fleites was detailing developments in the Cuban oil industry during the first Cuba-U.S. trade round of 2004, attended by 400-plus businesspeople and authorities from 30 U.S. states.
He noted that Cuba owns 112,000 square kilometers of 59 blocs to a depth of 1000-3000 meters in that area and contracts have been signed with European countries for 10 of those blocs.
Fleites informed that the Cuban oil industry was opened up to foreign capital in 1990, due to the need for such capital in order to install modern technologies. Within those agreements, the foreign party in the joint venture possesses one part of the oil extracted and, if it should wish to, can sell it to Cuba where there is a secure market.
The vice president of Cuba Petróleo illustrated the joint business prospects by noting that foreign companies are currently participating in 70% of the daily fuel production in Cuba.
He announced that, to date, 16 prospecting and drilling contracts have been signed with foreign companies, essentially from Canada, France and Spain. However, the blockade obstructs U.S. companies from participating in Cuba’s oil development.
The principal oil drilling area of the island is located on the northwest coast and ranges from Habana province to beyond the city of Cárdenas in Matanzas province.
There are six areas of exploitation in this western region and others being studied. Currently, 95% of the country’s daily oil production comes from that region.