US concerned about Cuba drilling

A top US official said they were concerned about Cuba opening its offshore waters to oil drilling, while Mexico said the three countries should try to work out differences.

“For us it is an issue of concern,” said US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar about drilling in Cuban waters. “Obviously, because it’s located 60 miles off the coast of Florida … it’s an issue that we’re monitoring carefully.”

In light of the BP oil spill nearly a year ago, the US is now worried that Cuba is unable to ensure its offshore drilling will be safe, Reuters reported.

Salazar spoke to reporters during a break at a day-long international conference sponsored by the US Interior Department on best safety practices for drilling in deep waters.

Cuba was not among the dozen or so countries invited to the conference.

Cuba is eager to develop its oil resources in the Gulf of Mexico, which it estimates could total 20 billion barrels of crude. The US pegs the total at a more modest 5 billion barrels.

Mario Budebo, an undersecretary at Mexico’s Ministry of Energy, said his country had an offshore boundary dispute with Cuba and was less concerned about drilling safely in Cuban waters.

He said the three countries should “get together and have discussions” about Cuba’s offshore drilling activities.

“That is still something that we have to deal with and put Cuba together (at) the table,” said Budebo.

Salazar did not respond to Budebo’s suggestion. When asked later if Salazar supported the idea, an Interior spokesperson referred the question to the US State Department.

The US does not have full formal relations with Cuba.

But other Interior officials recently met with executives from Spanish oil giant Repsol about the company’s plans to drill in Cuban waters.

Repsol, in a consortium with Norway’s Statoil and a unit of India’s ONGC, plans to start drilling offshore Cuba by the end of the summer.

( Original Article )

Posted on April 14, 2011, in Caribbean Sea, Cuba, Drilling, Gulf of Mexico, Natural Gas, Oil & Gas - offshore, United States and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on US concerned about Cuba drilling.

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