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Russia plans to have its companies help Cuba to develop its oil and natural gas resources as part of a close energy cooperation, a senior Russian official said on Thursday, just as Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev began a two-day visit to Cuba amid growing U.S.-Cuba tension.
Russia and Cuba have signed a roadmap for Russian companies to develop Cuba’s energy sector in a bid to reduce import dependence and raise energy security, Sergei Prikhodko, First Deputy Head of the Russian Government Office, said on Thursday, as carried by Russian news agency TASS.
“The main goal of the program is to reduce the dependency of Cuba from the import of energy resources and increase the country’s energy security,” Prikhodko said, noting that the communist-run island—a close ally of Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela—is also interested in cooperation in developing its natural resources.
“The work on these and other promising areas of cooperation in the energy sector would continue,” TASS quoted Prikhodko as saying.
Russia and Cuba are also discussing the use of nuclear technologies in medicine and agriculture, the Russian official said, adding that Russia is ready to assist Cuba should the Latin American country decide to develop nuclear power generation industry.
Prikhodko was talking to reporters while Russian Prime Minister Medvedev was heading to Havana for a two-day visit on October 3 and 4, in which Russia and Cuba are expected to discuss a wide range of cooperation deals, including in the energy sector.
The visit of a top Russian politician to Cuba comes as the United States is escalating the pressure on Cuba and Venezuela.
Despite the increasingly tougher U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil, Maduro’s regime continues to export fuel and oil to Cuba.
Also due to the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, Cuba has been suffering from fuel shortages, while the United States is trying to stop Venezuela’s oil exports to its regional and ideological ally.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.