Repsol Leaves Cuba Under Pressure?

By Circles Robinson

Off shore drilling platform. Photo: cubadebate.cu

HAVANA TIMES — The Spanish oil company Repsol will leave Cuba after not having found oil in the first exploratory well it drilled in Cuban waters in the Gulf of Mexico, said company president Antonio Brufau in Madrid on Tuesday.

Repsol has been under intense pressure from Cuban-American congresspeople seeking to prevent Cuba from obtaining oil independence at any cost.

“It is reasonable that we have no more activity in Cuba,” said the head of the Spanish oil company during the presentation of Repsol’s strategy through 2016. “We will not make any more attempts” to find oil in Cuban waters, he added.

Repsol hired a $750 million platform for ultra-deepwater drilling that came to Cuba in late January. The first exploration well in Cuba’s exclusive economic zone in the Gulf turned up dry.

Both Cuban and US geologists believe that huge deposits of 5-20 billion barrels are present in the Cuban waters.

Several other oil giants will take turns drilling with the made-to-order Sarabeo 9 platform trying to hit the big find.  These include Petronas, the Malasia state oil company, Venezuela’s PDVSA and PetroVietnam.

A total of about 112,000 square kilometers of Cuban waters are divided into blocks for exploration, noted dpa news.


2 thoughts on “Repsol Leaves Cuba Under Pressure?

  • May 29, 2012 at 8:39 pm
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    It is interesting that you believe it is from the pressure Repsol is receiving from the anticastristas as the cause for their Cuban departure as opposed to the high risk and subsequent cost associated with drilling another dry hole or the recent Argentinean nationalization of the Repsol subsidiary. In the latter case, the Argentineans sent chills throughout the entire oil and energy industry on the heels of the Bolivian grab of the Spanish electric company’s assets in that country. Both actions send the message that when you do business with leftist regimes, you run the higher risk of losing your capital investiment to feed local political interests. If anyone can’t be trusted to honor contracts, it is the Cuban government. Fidel is notorious for defaulting on IMF loans and stiffing foreign telephone companies and not paying foreign joint-venture partners the agreed upon profits earned in their Cuban investments. I believe Repsol saw the writing on the wall and cut their losses while they still could.

  • May 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm
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    The AP ran an article over the weekend, which reveals how the intense Cuba oil campaign of the last few years has simply been a ploy to pressure the U.S. to lift sanctions.

    The fact remains that U.S. sanctions remain the biggest impediment for the Castro regime to ever become a petro-dictatorship.

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