HAVANA TIMES, Jan 10 — US inspectors gave a clean bill of health to the offshore drill rig that will be seeking to find significant Cuban oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico north of the island, reported UPI on Tuesday.
“US regulators said they have examined an offshore drilling unit planned by Spanish energy company Repsol for Cuban waters.
“Personnel from the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Coast Guard examined safety systems, the blowout preventer and other equipment on the Scarabeo 9 drilling unit off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago,” on a stop over in route to Cuba.
“The US inspectors found the drilling unit was in compliance with international and US standards for work in the offshore environment,” noted UPI.
The US Geological Survey sees vast oil reserves located in Cuban waters, estimated as high as 9 billion barrels. The Cuban government has extended several leases to foreign oil companies to explore and later exploit the findings.
US oil companies are not participating as they are prohibited from doing so by the half century US blockade against Cuba.
The Scarabeo 9 offshore drilling platform was built in China at a reported cost of US $750 million. Repsol is the first company that will make use of the rig.
Repsol had invited the US inspectors in order to alleviate concerns of a potential oil spill that could affect Florida, voiced strongly in the US Congress by Cuban-American legislators opposed to anything that could improve the Cuban economy under the Castro government.