People's Daily (China)
Friday, April 16, 2004

Cuba welcomes US investment in oil exploration

Cuba welcomes US investment in inland and offshore oil exploration and exploitation, the Cuban Basic Industry Ministry said Thursday.

Juan Fleites, a senior official of the ministry, made this offer when more than 400 US entrepreneurs gathered here attending the first Cuban-US trade fair. He said cooperation opportunity is open to whoever is interested in exploring and exploiting oil in Cuba.

Fleites said Cuba has 49 oil plates in the Mexican sea area which remain untapped by venture capital.

Cuba has granted foreign capital the right to participate in oil exploration and exploitation since 1990. Oil companies from France, Canada and Spain are hitherto its major partners in this field.

Currently, Cuba's oil production mainly comes from oil fields on land, with an output of 80,000 barrels per day used in electricity generation.

The first offshore oil rig, jointly funded by Cuba and Spain, is believed to start production soon.

Fleites pointed out that except national defense, health and education, other economic sectors in the country will also open toforeign investment.

Since Cuba and the United States restored trade relations in 2001, trade between the two countries has been confined to food.

Cuba has reiterated that it welcomes US investment in sectors like oil, tourism, telecommunications, electricity, food production and infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Cuba also hopes to import machinery, agricultural facilities, transpiration equipment, fertilizer and industrial rawmaterials from the United States.

Source: Xinhua