Cuba now produces half of its petroleum needs

Jan 15, 2003 01:00 AM

Once dependent on imported Soviet oil to light its homes and power its plants, Cuba says it now produces half of the petroleum it needs, extracting 4.1 mm tons of crude and derivatives last year, energy officials said.
Fidel Rivero, director of the state enterprise Cubapetroleo, told that the nation was able to pass its petroleum production goals last year without additional foreign investment. It was able to meet 92 % of its electricity needs last year with domestic oil and gas in 2002, Rivero said.

This year, energy officials hope to produce 4.8 mm tons in crude and its derivatives. Cuba depended heavily on the annual shipments of 13 mm tons of crude from the Soviet Union before the collapse of its most important communist trade partner more than a decade ago.
Since then, Cuba has developed its energy sector with foreign investment.

In hopes of eventually covering all the island's domestic needs for crude, Cuban authorities later this year plan to start drilling about 50 km off the island's coast in the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico extracts much of its crude from the gulf off of its south-eastern coast.
"If crude is detected -- as is hoped for in some of the preliminary tests -- the infrastructure to develop the operation will take two or three years," Rivero said.

Source: AP
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