New Customs Law to Promote Oil Drilling

HAVANA TIMES, March 14 — The Cuban Customs Office will soon begin enforcing a new law aimed at streamlining the paperwork involved in the exploration and exploitation of oil in Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico Economic Zone, reported the AFP news agency.

The new legislation designates the Mariel Customs Office as the only entity authorized to handle import and export administrative operations related to the exploration and exploitation of oil. The new laws will also expedite the paperwork of travelers and transportation services involved in such activities.

Following the arrival to the island of the Scareabeo 9 oil rig, the Spanish company Repsol — under a contract with the island’s government — drilling operations began last month in Cuba’s exclusively controlled Gulf area (approximately 112,000 km2 off the island’s coast).  Exploration and drilling contracts are also in place with Statoil (Noruega) and OVL (India).