Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rigzone: Crude Oil Diplomacy to the Rescue? Cuban Drilling off Keys to Begin by Year End

For 51 years the U.S. has imposed an economic embargo against Cuba, severely crippling the island's economy for its effrontery in choosing a socialist path for development, a policy confirmed and intensified in the wake of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Now the unlikeliest of economic interests may be bringing the two countries closer together, oil.

Specifically, oil deposits in the Florida Straits between Key West and Cuba.

Spain's largest oil company, Repsol-YPF, has contracted the massive Italian made Scarabeo 9 semi submersible oil rig, currently en route from Singapore, to arrive in the Florida Straits by the end of the year after the end of hurricane season to begin exploring Cuba's offshore reserves. Repsol-YPF, which drilled Cuba's first onshore well in 2004, intends initially to drill six wells with the Scarabeo 9 rig.

Cuba, which currently produces a paltry roughly 50,000 barrels of oil per day from onshore sources, is understandably keen to begin exploiting its offshore reserves, which estimates place between 5-20 billion barrels of crude in a 43,000 square mile drilling area containing 59 maritime fields it has designated off its northern coast. While Fidel Castro's close ally, Venezuelan Hugo Chávez currently dispatches 120,000 bpd to Cuba on very favorable financing terms, the arrangement is heavily dependent on the friendship between octogenarian Castro and cancer stricken Chávez, hardly a recipe for permanency.

While Repsol-YPF is the first out of the gate, other concessionaires include Norway's Statoil, India's state owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Brazilian state oil company Petroleo Brasileiro, or Petrobras. Note the total absence of U.S. oil companies, that'll punish those pesky Commies.....Read the entire Rigzone article.

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