Petrobras may commence drilling offshore Cuba within a year

Mar 19, 2009 01:00 AM

According to Brazilian Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao, oil giant Petrobras may commence drilling offshore Cuba within a year. Petrobras's International Director, Jorge Luiz Zelada, also confirmed in January that the company is focusing on conducting seismic surveys in Cuban waters.
Brazil and Cuba are still negotiating, the talks of which need to be finalized before the drilling can begin. The two countries' state-run companies, Petrobras and CubaPetroleo (Cupet), have already signed a 32-year oil exploration and production agreement, which involves a seven-year exploration pact in Cuba's offshore Block 37.

Latest upstream initiatives
In March, US News & World Report noted that the US Geological Survey has estimated that fields offshore Cuba may contain roughly 5 bn barrels of oil and 10 tcf of natural gas, although US-embargoed Cuba has proclaimed a more considerable estimate of 20 bn barrels of recoverable crude. Cupet's Exploration Director, Rafael Tenreyro, unveiled Cuba's significant estimate last November.
Political tension between the two countries may explain the duelling numbers since, if Cuba's prediction is accurate, its recoverable reserves will rival that of the US, according to US News & World Report.

Cuba's Exclusive Economic Zone off its northeast coast stretches some 43,240 sq miles (112,000 sq km) and consists of 59 offshore blocks. Companies already working within the zone include Repsol-YPF, India's ONGC, PetroVietnam, Malaysia's Petronas and PdVSA.
Petrobras, having acquired petroleum rights in one of the 59 blocks, joins these companies in the hunt for hydrocarbons within an area where experts suggest a commercial discovery could take between three to five years to harness, US News & World Report said. Moreover, after making a non-commercial oil discovery in 2004, Repsol is set to resume exploratory drilling along with ONGC and StatoilHydro in the second quarter of 2009.

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