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Cuba’s hopes of becoming energy independent and net oil exporter are slipping further beyond site after yet another well has been announced as dry.
The Cuban government has claimed that its offshore oil reserves hold around 20 million barrels of oil, although the US Geological Survey has said that the figure is much closer to 5 million barrels.
The Communist newspaper Granma reported that the well drilled of the west coast by the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has been abandoned because “it did not offer possibilities of commercial exploitation.”
To further exacerbate the situation, the Scarabeo 9 rig, one of the few deepwater drilling rigs available to work in Cuba, due to long standing US sanctions, is set to leave for West-Africa by the middle of this month.
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The Cuban wells that have been drilled to access the oil deposits have been done so in water that is more than a mile deep, meaning that finding a new rig capable of such drilling depths is very difficult.
Repsol, who brought the Scarabeo 9 rig to Cuban waters, pulled out of the area after drilling a failed well earlier in the year. They passed the rig onto Petronas who, with Russia’s Gazprom Neft, drilled another empty well. Finally the Scarabeo 9 was given to PDSVA, only to drill a third dry hole. Luckily for Cuba, PDVSA has announced that it will remain in the area and is determined to tap into the hidden oil.
For the time being Cuba’s best hopes lie with Russia’s Zarubezhneft, who are set to begin drilling later in the month just east of Havana, in much shallower water.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com