HAVANA TIMES — The Venezuelan government-owned company PDVSA reported that it found no commercially viable oil in Cuban waters in the Gulf of Mexico, making their exploration well the third unsuccessful search for oil in recent months, reported DPA news.
Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and CUPET closed their exploratory well last week in Cabo de San Antonio, off the far western end of the island, having found no “potential for commercial exploitation,” explained the Cuban state-run enterprise Cubapetroleo (CUPET) on Friday.
Notwithstanding, PDVSA will continue to operate in Cuba, according to a statement by the company. “The technical expertise and valuable geological information obtained have contributed to reaffirming PDVSA’s decision to continue its participation in the exploration campaign in Cuban waters,” read the statement.
This finding is another setback for the government of Raul Castro. The present effort was the third failed attempt to find oil in Cuban waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In late May, the Spanish energy company Repsol announced it was shutting down its oil exploration effort off the coast of Cuba after failing to find oil on its first bore.
Soon after, Petronas of Malaysia and the Russian group Gazprom Neft also failed in their attempt to find oil suitable for commercial exploitation in the Cuban Gulf.
The discovery of oil in Cuban waters is one of the great economic hopes of the government of Raul Castro. Several foreign energy firms, with Repsol initially at the head, became interested in exploring there.
In late January, a latest-generation platform designed for ultra-deep-water drilling arrived off the island’s shores. The US $750 million Scarabeo-9, built in China with Italian capital, was contracted by several multinationals to perform consecutive borings off the coast of Cuba.
In addition to PDVSA, other foreign companies are planning to drill in Cuba’s exclusive economic zone, such as the Vietnamese company PetroVietnam. Brazil is also participating in the expansion of the port of Mariel, destined to become a major logistics base for trade in the region.
Cuba estimates that in its exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Mexico, about 112,000 square kilometers, lie 20 billion barrels of crude oil reserves. Although calculating lower figures, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) also estimates a significant oil potential in the basin north of the island.
The Raul Castro government currently depends on its supply of energy from Venezuela, led by Hugo Chavez.