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U.S. Ease On Cuban Sanctions To Benefit Foreign Oil Producers

Last week, Barack Obama issued a policy directive on easing sanctions and normalizing relations between the United States and Cuba, reiterating his 2014 call to lift the embargo imposed on that nation, which has been in place since the Kennedy Administration.

The directive reads in part, “Cuba is not a member of international financial institutions (IFIs), such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank, which could provide expertise and potentially finance economic reforms and viable investment projects.”

The directive is aimed at not only normalizing relations, but also at economic enhancement for Cuba. Implementation of the directive could mean that Cuba could participate in the International Monetary fund and the world bank, which the administration says will help with economic enhancement. Peter Strickland, the CEO of MEO Australia said that the move could open the door to give his company access to his counterparts in the U.S. with energy expertise.

In a press release from the company, Strickland commented, “The ongoing easing of U.S. Government restrictions on business dealings with Cuba is clearly a positive step for MEO considering the Company’s Block 9 PSC project and other potential business activities in Cuba. While these changes will need to be understood in detail, the allowance for U.S. companies to provide services related to Cuban infrastructure is potentially directionally significant for MEO’s advancement of Block 9, given the prominent role oil and gas play in both public transport and electricity generation in Cuba.”

MEO Australia is one of the few foreign companies doing business in Cuba’s oil and gas sector.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that there were approximately 4.6 billion barrels of crude oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural has in recoverable resources in Cuba. MEO said its estimates for Block 9, which is on Cuba’s northern cost holds some 8 billion barrels of oil with the potential to produce almost 400 million barrels.

Lincoln Brown for Oilprice.com

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