HAVANA TIMES, April 12 — The Mexican state-owned oil giant, Pemex, moved closer to Cuban waters on Wednesday after talks held between presidents Felipe Calderon and Raul Castro.
According to Calderon, after reaching a preliminary agreement following his visit to the island, Mexico will have the opportunity to participate in oil exploration off the coast of Cuba, reported dpa news.
Prior to making his first visit to Cuba, Calderon announced his trip and its objectives of improving relations and analyzing possibilities for investment and trade.
Calderon and his host Raul Castro met in Havana on Wednesday in the presence of their two foreign ministers.
Pemex and Cupet (Cuba’s government-run oil company) “signed a nonbinding letter of intent” for possible oil exploration in Cuban waters in the Gulf of Mexico, Calderon said on leaving the island after a 24-hour visit, in route to Haiti.
The pre-agreement opens the door for the Mexican company to assess the possibility of participating and investing in the exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in Cuba in blocks adjacent to the Exclusive Economic Zone of Mexico,” said Calderon.
The dpa news report noted that Pemex is already indirectly involved in oil exploration in Cuba through its participation in the Argentina-Spanish oil company Repsol-YPF, which is now conducting exploration drilling in Cuban waters. The potential new deal would give Pemex direct access to the Cuban fields.
One of the limitations for several interested oil companies is the sanctions they can be subject to under the far-reaching US economic embargo on Cuba. Calderon criticized the half-century-old embargo, calling it “unjustified.”
Optimism about new relationship with Cuba
The visit by Calderon, who took office in 2006, also served to “redirect” the relations that had cooled in recent years, according to the Mexican president, noted dpa.
“For us, Cuba and Mexico are in a phase of a renewed bilateral relationship,” said Calderon. “Despite our natural and different views on several issues, our agreements are making us intensify that relationship,” said President Calderon in Havana.
“This visit is a clear expression of the commitment made over the last five years by my government to redirect and strengthen the relations between Cuba and Mexico,” Calderon said before embarking on the journey to Haiti on Thursday.