16 August 2006

Cuban Oil

A short summary of the state of Cuban oil:

With Soviet help, it discovered the Varadero Oil Field in 1971. This reservoir, within 5 miles of Cuba's northern coast, today yields about 40% of Cuba's total production - roughly 75,000 barrels a day of poor-quality, heavy, sour crude.

In July 2004, however, the Spanish oil company Repsol-YPF (REP), in partnership with Cuba's state oil company, CUPET, identified five fields it classified as "high-quality" in the deep water of the Florida Straits, 20 miles northeast of Havana.

Seven months later, a report by the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed it: The North Cuba Basin held a substantial quantity of oil - 4.6 billion to 9.3 billion barrels of crude and 9.8 trillion to 21.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Cuba wasted no time, dividing the 74,000 square mile area into 59 exploration blocks, and then welcoming foreign oil conglomerates with offers of production-sharing agreements.

Oil companies from China and Canada, already prospecting for oil along Cuba's coast, began talks with Cuban energy officials about investments in deep-water operations.

Then, in May, Spain's Repsol-YPF announced it was partnering with India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (500312.BY) and Norsk Hydro ASA (NHY) of Norway to explore for oil and gas in six of the 59 deep-water blocks along Cuba's maritime border with the U.S. Sherritt International Corp. (S.T), the Canadian oil company, has acquired exploration rights in four of the deep-sea blocks.

From the WSJ.com

Will Cuba's Offshore Oil Find Break US Trade Embargo?

July 29, 2006 12:33 p.m.

By Todd Lewan