by Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES — The first well drilled in Cuban waters in the Gulf of Mexico by the Spanish oil giant Repsol has turned up dry, a company source told Reuters on Friday.
The discouraging news has not been reported in any official Cuban media which usually focuses on good economic news while avoiding the bad, leaving such reporting to the foreign press.
Repsol, in a partnership with Norway’s Statoil and India’s ONGC, began its drilling in January. They used the massive (US $750 million) Scarabeo 9, drilling rig, made in China and owned by an Italian firm.
Petronas, the Malaysian state oil company, working in a partnership with Russia’s Gazprom Neft, will soon begin to drill the second deep water well, this time in a bloc some 100 miles west of the now abandoned Repsol well, noted Reuters.
PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company, is scheduled to drill the third well when Petronas has completed theirs.
Several other oil companies are in line to try their luck with Scarabeo in different blocks off the Cuban coast. Each well has an estimated cost of US $175 million.
Both US and Cuban geologists believe there are massive oil deposits in the Cuban waters.
Cuba currently pumps about half its petroleum needs and
gets the other half from Venezuela in exchange for the professional services of tens of thousands of doctors, educators and other specialists.