The state-owned Cuban oil company says the country may have more than 20bn barrels of oil in its offshore fields – more than double the previous estimate. Cubapetroleo’s exploration manager said drilling in the offshore wells would begin as early as the middle of 2009. Such reserves would place Cuba among the top 20 oil producing nations.
If correct, Cuba’s oil reserves would be almost the same as those of the US – 21bn barrels, according to the Oil & Gas Journal – and nearly twice the size of Mexico’s – 11.7bn barrels. It could generate unprecedented wealth for the Communist-run state. Mr Tenreyro said he expected the first production well to be drilled before the middle of next year by a consortium led by the Spanish oil company, Repsol, and that more wells could be started before 2010. Cuba currently produces 60,000 barrels of oil a day. It depends on Venezuela for an additional 93,000 barrels a day, which it receives at preferential rates in exchange for the services of thousands of Cuban doctors working in Venezuela.
Bin Laden spotted in Havana coming to a corporate news outlet near you soon.