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Global Energy Advisory – 15th May 2015

Geopolitics & Oil

Let the games begin in Cuba …

As the US and Cuba work to restore diplomatic relations, keeping in mind that we are doubtful the US trade embargo on Cuba will be lifted until after the 2016 presidential elections, Cuba is flaunting what it says are billions of barrels of oil in its offshore Gulf of Mexico territory. So far, there isn’t a great amount of excitement over Cuba’s announcement. In 2012, three exploration wells came up dry and, at present, most are eyeing new opportunities in Mexico since it opened up its oil and gas to foreign companies and ended state-run Pemex’s monopoly on the industry. Depressed oil prices will also keep interest in Cuba to a minimum. Still, a recent study does claim to confirm what Cuba has long said was a potential oil and gas bonanza—20 billion barrels of undiscovered crude, more specifically. The most recent US Geological Survey data estimates around 7 billion barrels. For now, Venezuela’s state-run PDVSA is one of two companies that still has exploration rights in Cuba, but at the same time, Cuba would love to reduce its dependence on Venezuela all around. The other company is Russia’s state-run Zarubezhneft.

Cuba’s oil production right now is sparse. It produces 40% of its oil needs from an onshore/offshore heavy oil belt, but this is poor quality fare.

But while interest appears to be lacking, contradictory reports have emerged that France’s…

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