Sunday, June 22, 2008

More on Cuba oil

El Nuevo Herald has a detailed report on the Cuba oil issue, including hints that Brazil’s Petrobras may be about to join companies already involved in offshore exploration. It also has some terrific graphics:

  • A map that shows how that zone (and some onshore areas) has been divided into blocks where foreign companies can buy exploration rights, and the companies that have acquired rights to date.

  • A map that shows where the action is, and has been for the past decade: along the coast between Havana and Varadero, with expanding onshore oil and gas production, including onshore wells that use directional drilling to reach oil that lies several kilometers offshore.

The article also quotes members of the Florida Congressional delegation that would like to block Cuban exploration in Cuba’s Gulf waters.

“I believe the message should be clear that we will not permit the Cuban regime to put the Florida coasts in danger,” said Senator Mel Martinez in comments that, to readers in Cuba, must sound as if he thinks he is in charge of their country.

The Senator goes on to say he’s opposed to renegotiating the U.S.-Cuba agreement that defines the maritime border. It’s hard to tell what he’s talking about – the agreement was negotiated during the Carter Administration and in the absence of Senate ratification, it has been reaffirmed by every President since Jimmy Carter. Including President Bush. No U.S. Administration has talked about “re-negotiation.” (More on the agreement here.)

The Senator and others who want to restrict offshore drilling have more immediate problems, though. With gas at $4 per gallon, even Florida’s governor is moving toward supporting offshore drilling. And Republican politicians, starting with Vice President Cheney, are mentioning Cuba’s offshore drilling as something that makes sense.

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