Another Cuban Oil Well Turns Up Dry

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.

A PDVSA gas station in Caracas. Photo: Caridad

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.

10 thoughts on “Another Cuban Oil Well Turns Up Dry

  • November 6, 2012 at 9:32 am

    RE: claiming that “the reason for the [blockade] and the path to lifting the [blockade] are different” are somehow not an example of ‘moving the goalpost’.

    If the criteria for lifting it is different than the stated reason for imposing it, that’s moving the goalpost, no matter how you look at it.

    Cuba is no longer allied with Russia. The blockade remains and Cuba is labeled a terrorist country. Cuba stops supporting rebel movements in Africa and Latin America. The blockade remains and the Cuban-Americans in Florida are blamed. The demographics change and “democratic elections and freedom of the press” are now the stated “path to lifting the [blockade].” And the blockade remains.

    You must think Cubans are fools.

    RE: “The embargo exists to put pressure on the regime through economic hardships which directly affect the population”.

    More accurately, the embargo exists to create economic hardships that directly affect the population in order to put pressure on the regime. In other words, torture the people in order to get what you want, in the same category as “I’ll cut off the finger of your loved one if you don’t give me what I want.” A common practice of gangsters and thugs.

    RE: “The same strategy is currently being used in Iran and Syria as well.”

    Quite correct. And used viciously in Iraq before that where half a million children died due to the sanctions, “more children than died in Hiroshima”, as a 60 Minutes reporter pointed out to Madeine Albright when she infamously replied when asked, is “the price worth it?” – “we [the US] think the price is worth it.”

  • November 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    There is no conflict at all between the two comments. The reason for the embargo and the path to lifting the embargo are different. Nor is it a moving ¨goalpost¨ as you have blathered in another comment. Super simple: The embargo exists to put pressure on the regime through economic hardships which directly affect the population. The same strategy is currently being used in Iran and Syria as well. The path to lifting the embargo is by way of open and democratic elections and freedom of the press.

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