The Russian state company Zarubezhneft is currently undertaking the fourth attempt to find oil reserves in the Cuban Area Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), using the Cypriot drilling platform Songa Mercur, which is already in the called Block L, 330 kilometers (200 miles) east of La Havana.
A report from the Russia Today confirmed the arrival, and reported that the semi submersible facility was visited last Thursday by the president of the Russian Audit Chamber Sergey Stepashin, the country’s ambassador to Cuba, Mikhail Kamyshin and Nikolay Brunich, Zarubezhneft Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Aboard Songa Mercur, now north of Cayo Coco, visitors hoisted the national flags of Cuba, Russia and the Zarubezhneft, and expressed their desire to see the first results of drilling in May, with the discovery of “a lot of oil.”
Exploration costs are estimated at 126 million USD and the platform can work in shallow waters, some 365.76 meters (1,200 feet) and a depth of 7.620 meters (25,000 feet) in the seabed.
Russia intends to increase its stake in the sector Cuban energy, Yuri Ushakov, aide to the Russian presidencysaid, according to Russia Today and added that Zarubezhneft has plans to invest in the island some 2.9 billion USD up to 2025; in addition to the works Gazpromneft company is already doing in Cuba.
Last year, Zarubezhneft and CUPET signed four agreements for finding and extracting oil in blocks L and III, which are located in the sea north of the provinces of Sancti Spiritus and Matanzas, respectively, while the other two, called 9 and 12 are inland in the north of Villa Clara.
In 2010 the two companies signed three contracts of international economic association for the exploration and exploitation of oil on the northern Havana coast, with the introduction of a novel technology.
The deepwater exploration campaign began in Cuba this year, without results, with modern self-propelled platform Scarabeo 9 in the Jagüey 1X well, located 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Havana, and was executed at risk by a consortium made up by Repsol of Spain, Norway’s Statoil and ONGC of India.
Repsol in 2004 had drilled a well in deep water in which it found oil, but not in marketable quantities. Following the first failure, Scarabeo 9 unsuccessfully completed its contract with PC Gulf, from Malaysia and Gazpromneft, Russia, for drill the Catoche 1X, located north of the province of Pinar del Rio.
And later it moved to nearby drilling site San Antonio 1X, operated by Petroleos de Venezuela S. A. (PDVSA), where hydrocarbon was found, but in an amount insufficient for its commercial exploitation, but allowed to reorient the work in that area, according to official statement released by the Cuban news media
Cuba’s EEZ covers an area of 112,000 square kilometers in the Gulf of Mexico, one of the major producing oil basins worldwide, with high potential for discovery of new hydrocarbon reserves in the 59 blocks in which Cuba has divided the region, according to studies geological.
Estimates of state company Cubapetroleo (CUPET), based on such investigations, say they may have more than 20 billion barrels of oil in its offshore fields.
The exploration on the island equally determined inland blocks, 15 in shallow water near the coast and another 28 on land.
Cuba shares the same basin where large deposits in Mexico and the United States are exploited at present.
A potential oil find could ensure energy independence and possibly turn the importing oil country into a exporter one, which would boost the economy substantially, in crisis since 1990 and today very dependent of outside credit to develop the country.