Cuba plans deep-water oil drilling
With a giant deep-water oil rig steaming slowly toward the Gulf of Mexico and the waters just off Cuba, the administration of President Barack Obama is being pushed and pulled by different interests over what, if anything, to do about it.
On the one hand, anti-Castro Cuban-American and other right-wing lawmakers are expressing growing exasperation over what they see as Washington’s failure to do whatever it can to prevent the new, $750m Scarabeo 9 from fulfilling its mission to begin exploratory drilling off the island’s northwest coast by early next year.
They appear increasingly worried that the rig, which will be operated initially by the Spanish oil company, Repsol-YPF, may find commercially exploitable quantities of oil under Cuba’s waters and thus provide a “windfall” for Havana that will be used to help sustain the Communist government led by President Raul Castro.
On the other hand, some environmental and anti-embargo groups, including business associations that want to increase trade with Havana, are calling on Obama to engage the Cuban government more directly in the interests of both protecting the Gulf’s ecology from a possible spill and ensuring that US oil service companies will be able to help contain the damage, should such an accident take place.
Less than 18 months after the Deepwater Horizon blow-out that sent nearly five million barrels of oil pouring into the Gulf over a three-month period, they argue that Washington should work closely with both the Cuban government and Repsol, as well as other third-country companies that will operate the rig, to both minimise the risk of a similar accident and contain its impact if there is one.
So far, the administration appears to be trying to steer a middle course, satisfying neither side.
The US Geological Service estimates that there could be undiscovered reserves of up to six billion barrels of oil under Cuban waters, only 100 km from the Florida Keys – while others have suggested there could be as much as several times that amount.
And while it would take at least a couple of years before those reserves could be tapped commercially, they would provide a huge boost to the struggling Cuban economy, which currently depends on the largess of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for more than two-thirds of its daily crude oil requirements.
note they arent worried about any environmetal concerns..they are worried if they find anything!