Cuba Business

Status of oil production and exploration in Cuba

Posted December 28, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Business.


Cuban oil and gas output rose only slightly to the equivalent of 4 million tonnes this year despite a significant increase in investment, state-run media reported on Wednesday.

Oil output was 2.9 million tonnes, or around 57,000 bpd, assuming 7 barrels per tonne, down slightly from the 2.98 million tonnes reported in 2006.

Natural gas production was reported at 1.215 billion cubic meters, up from the 920 million cubic meters reported in 2006.

Vice President Carlos Lage, during a Christmas Day tour of oil facilities, praised efforts to maintain output despite the natural depletion of existing wells, and in particular the use of natural gas to generate 15 percent of the country’s electricity.

Cuba has prioritized energy production and savings in the face of skyrocketing prices and despite its alliance with oil-rich Venezuela.

Lage said Cuba produced 47 percent of its fuel needs.

Cuba imports the rest of its fuel from Venezuela in exchange for the services of 31,000 medical personnel and 8,000 other Cubans working in the South American country.

Cuba bought and rented 10 Chinese drilling rigs in recent years, Lage said, and drilled 32 wells in 2007—mostly in partnership with Canadian company Sherritt International—compared with 23 wells in 2006.

Lage said a record number of seismic studies were carried out on land, just off the coast, and in Cuba’s Gulf of Mexico waters where various foreign companies have taken out blocks.

Cuban production is concentrated along the northwest heavy oil belt, an 80-mile (128-km) stretch of coast in Havana and Matanzas provinces which produces all of Cuba’s heavy crude with a density rating of 8 API to 18 API and with a high sulfur content.

Most new wells are drilled vertically to the shore from two to seven kilometers out to sea.

The poor-quality oil is burned in modified power plants and factories.

In 2006 Cuba began shipping small amounts of the crude to Malaysia.

Canadian companies Sherritt International and Pebercan Inc., in conjunction with state-run Cubapetroleo (Cupet), account for 60 percent of the output.

Cupet has signed agreements with various companies, including Venezuela’s PDVSA, Spanish major Repsol YPF, Norway’s Norsk Hydro, ONGC Videsh Ltd (the overseas arm of India’s state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp) and other state firms from Vietnam and Malaysia to drill in the mile-deep (1.6-km) waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

A consortium made up of Repsol-YPF, ONGC Videsh and Norsk is expected to begin drilling late next year.

Cuba’s 43,250-square-mile (112,000 sq km) exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Mexico was parceled into 59 blocks for foreign exploration in 1999.

The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated the North Cuba basin could contain some 4.6 billion barrels of oil, with a high-end potential of 9.3 billion barrels, and close to 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Member Comments

On December 28, 2007, Yeyo wrote:

Difficult to believe any report from the Cuban Government. They have lied so many times that know you never known.

On December 28, 2007, publisher wrote:

I agree but there are multiple players in the Cuban oil market so I tend to believe these numbers.

On December 28, 2007, James August wrote:

Yo, original title of the article :Cuba oil and gas stagnates despite investments

Pebercan showed weakness yesterday, today both Pebercan and Sherritt are looking good

It’s what dreams are made of hehehe

On December 28, 2007, publisher wrote:

Just found this too…

Cuba and Venezuela sign 14 oil agreements


Visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and acting Cuban President Raul Castro signed agreements Saturday in the energy, mining and oil sectors, including a 170-million-dollar deal to build a new power plant.

The agreements, closing a four-day visit by Chavez to Cuba, also include a 122-dollar loan for Cuba to buy tanker ships to transport crude oil and its derivatives.

Two agreements will almost double the new southeastern Cienfuegos oil refinery’s capacity from 65,000 to 150,000 barrels per day, and reopen an oil pipeline between the eastern Matanzas and the refinery, located 260 kilometers (160 miles) south of Havana.

Two agreements provide a 170-million-dollar loan to build a new power plant in northeastern Holguin and expand the existing power network supplying Havana.

During his visit, Chavez met with ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro, inaugurated the Cienfuegos refinery and attended the fourth summit of Petrocaribe, a Venezuelan initiative to provide oil to Caribbean neighbors at preferential prices.

Cuba imports about 92,000 barrels a day of Venezuelan oil, some of it paid indirectly by supplying Venezuela with 36,000 Cuban workers, most of them medical doctors.