06 February 2007

PetroVietnam Eyes Cuba

It looks like the Vietnamese are getting a cut of the oil action in Cuba.

From the DowJones newswires :

"We got one onshore block, and they offered the data for review. So
after the review, depending upon the economics, we'll go for direct
negotiations," the official said.

But he said it is difficult to get exploration agreements with other African countries such as Libya and Sudan, due to a lack of regulatory structure.

"It is a very complicated story. We have the data, we submitted a proposal to Libya, but we haven't heard from them," Truong said.

PetroVietnam's deep-water exploration contract offshore Cuba is likely to be signed in middle of this year.

It is still unclear how much estimated reserves there are in the exploration block assigned to PetroVietnam, but the official said the geology is promising.

"It's an exploration contract, and we still have to see how much we discover," he said. Cuba produces about 80,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

The country, in an effort to exploit its offshore reserves, divided its offshore area into 59 exploration blocks in 2000. Of this, about 20 blocks have been leased to international companies including Spain's Repsol YPF S.A. (REP), Norway's Norsk Hydro ASA (NHY.OS) and India's Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (500312.BY).

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the North Cuba Basin could contain about 4.6 billion barrels of crude in proven reserves, with a high-end potential of 9.3 billion barrels.

It is estimated that output in this area alone could bump up Cuba's daily production to 300,000 barrels.