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A month ago Repsol, the Spanish oil company, announced it would stop all exploration operations off the coast of Cuba after it spent more than $100 million drilling a well which turned out to be dry. The announcement threatened to damage Cuba’s hopes of becoming an oil export nation; but long-time ally, Venezuela, has finally come to the rescue.
The state owned Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) has signed a deal to explore of crude oil in the deep waters off Cuba. According to Rafael Ramirez, Venezuela’s oil minister and president of PDVSA, once the Malaysian company, Petronas, has completed its work with the huge Scarabeo-9 deep water drilling platform, the only such platform in the world that is eligible to operate in Cuban waters due to US sanctions, the Venezuelan oil major will begin its operations.
Ramirez admitted that “Repsol unfortunately didn’t have success in its well,” but he says that seismic data has shown good prospects, and he is confident that PDVSA will have more luck in its search for oil reservoirs.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has always been a close ally of Cuba, and regularly supply’s the island nation with oil in a deal which allows the Cuban government to pay for the imports via the supply of doctors, nurses, and other professionals to work in the South American country.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com