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Zarubezhneft Getting Ready for Drilling Offshore Cuba

Russia’s Zarubezhneft is getting ready to begin its oil and gas exploration campaign offshore Cuba.

Songa Mecur, the semi-submersible rig to be used for the campaign, is expected to arrive to Trinidad next week, where it will undergo preparations work before setting sail to Cuban waters.

The drilling program is expected to start in November.

Zarubezhneft in 2009 signed production sharing contracts with the communist country’s oil company Cubapetroleo for two offshore blocks located in the Cuban sector of the Gulf of Mexico. In the upcoming exploration campaign the company hopes to unlock hydrocarbons hidden in Cuba’s offshore Block L.

Cuba estimates that its offshore fields hold approximately 20 billion barrels of oil, which could, once unlocked provide a major boost to its economy.

In May this year, the Spanish oil company, Repsol, after a failed attempt to discover oil in a well offshore Cuba, decided to abandon any further offshore drilling plans in the Caribbean nation’s waters.

Earlier this week,  Cubapetróleo (Cupet) informed the local media that Catoche 1X well drilling offshore Cuba was unsuccessful. The well was drilled by a consortium established by Malaysia’s Petronas and Russia’s Gazprom. The consortium then released the Scarabeo 9 rig to Venezuela’s PDVSA which will try it’s luck at the Cabo de San Antonio 1x offshore well.

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Petronas, PDVSA Searching for Oil Offshore Cuba

Cuba’s state oil company, Cubapetróleo (Cupet) sent a statement to the country’s media saying that a company from Malaysia, a subsidiary of Petronas, had started drilling operations at the Catoche 1X well offshore Cuba.

The Malaysian company is using the Scarabeo 9, a 6th generation semi submersible drilling rig, for the operation. The Catoche 1X well was spudded on May 24. The rig had been under a contract with the Spanish oil major Repsol, who, following the disappointing results of its recent well, decided to scrap plans for further drilling off the Caribean country’s coast.

Cupet has said that Repsol’s failure to find oil doesn’t mean that the oil isn’t there and has added that the area has “a high potential for discovery of new hydrocarbon reserves, according to geological studies performed.”

Cuba estimates that its offshore fields hold approximately 20 billion barrels of oil, which could, once unlocked provide a major boost to the communist country’s economy.

Furthermore, the Cupet’s announcement says that once the drilling of Catoche 1X is completed the Scarabeo 9 will move to the Cabo de San Antonio 1x well, operated by Venezuela’s PDVSA.

Scarabeo 9, capable of operating in water depths of up to 3,600 meters, was built by Singapore’s Keppel specifically for drilling operations in Cuban waters.

Due to the United States trading embargo against Cuba, Repsol had to come up with a rig with almost no U.S. made parts in it, and according to Reuters, the only U.S. manufactured part on the Scarabeo 9 rig is a blowout preventer, a part that malfunctioned and caused the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

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Repsol Drills Duster Offshore Cuba

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Spanish oil titan Repsol on Friday announced it would plug and abandon an exploration well offshore Cuba.

Repsol’s well in Cuba’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) was drilled by the Scarabeo 9, a 6th generation semi submersible drilling rig.

The Saipem-owned rig failed to find hydrocarbons, and Repsol’s spokesman told BusinesWeek that the result is disappointing but not unusual saying that every four of five offshore wells turn out to be a dry hole.

He said that the Spanish company was analyzing the data collected before making any further decisions.

Scarabeo 9, capable of operating in water depths of up to 3,600 meters, was built by Singapore’s Keppel specifically for this campaign.

Due to the United States trading embargo against Cuba, Repsol had to come up with a rig with almost no U.S. made parts in it, and according to Reuters, the only U.S. manufactured part on the Scarabeo 9 rig is a blowout preventer, a part that malfunctioned and caused the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

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