Russia's Zarubezhneft suspends search for oil in Cuba
A Norwegian-owned drilling platform will depart Cuba for Vietnam this
week, after six months of exploration that so far has failed to yield
any oil, official media in Havana reported on Tuesday.
The state-run Agencia de Informacion National (AIN) said the drilling
work in Cuba will be suspended because of unspecified "geological
complications," and the start this month of the hurricane season, which
runs in the Caribbean through the end of November.
The drilling operation with the platform called Songa Mercur was taking
place near the central Cuban province of Ciego de Avila, about 600
kilometers (370 miles) east of Havana.
A new round of drilling is expected to get underway early next year, AIN
AIN reported that the Norwegian platform, which has been used by the
Russian firm Zarubezhneft to search for oil off Cuba's coast, will
depart on Thursday for Vietnam.
Zarubezhneft has been drilling the communist island's deepest offshore
well using the Norwegian semi-submersible platform, with cash-strapped
Cuba desperate to tap its potential offshore oil wealth.
Oil exploration has been seen as crucial for Havana, which produces
nearly half its oil from wells on land and in shallow water.
Cuba currently imports about 100,000 barrels of oil each day, under very
favorable terms, from its longtime ally Venezuela.
Some studies have estimated that there may be between five and nine
billion barrels of crude in ocean waters off the Cuban coast.
Officials in Havana say however that they have reason to believe the
amount could be as high as 20 billion -- enough to provide energy
sufficiency and much needed revenue for the communist island.
Source: "Russia's Zarubezhneft suspends search for oil in Cuba - Yahoo!
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