Cuba Business

Senator Bill Nelson wants to “invade” Cuba for oil by breaking agreement

Posted January 24, 2008 by publisher in Cuba Business.

(Orignal title: Drilling Offshore Cuba Could ‘Desecrate’ Florida)

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is pressing the White House to abandon a decades-old offshore boundary agreement with Cuba that he alleges will allow oil projects off Cuba’s coast that could threaten his state’s environment.

In a letter to President Bush yesterday, Nelson said that news reports of an exploration agreement signed this month between Cuba and Brazil’s state-controlled oil company reveal dangers to Florida. The letter also cites other oil exploration plans by foreign companies in Cuban waters.

“Soon, there could be oil rigs within 50 miles of the Florida Keys and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary,” the letter states. “And, as the Gulf Stream flows, an oil spill or other drilling accident would desecrate part of Florida’s unique environment and devastate its $50 billion tourism-driven economy.”

Nelson has in the past introduced legislation that would nullify the 1977 boundary agreement that evenly divides the 90 miles of sea between the Florida Keys and Cuba. Nelson believes that U.S. withdrawal from the agreement would stall exploration plans by foreign companies and envisions the agreement being renegotiated with a future democratic government of Cuba in a manner that keeps oil rigs far from Florida’s waters, a spokesman for Nelson said.

The letter yesterday says the agreement is enforced by exchange of diplomatic notes every two years. “My staff informs me the State Department has sent the latest such notes, but that they have not been received yet by the Cuban government,” the letter states. “So, I am writing to urge you to recall these notes. I am sure you agree that we cannot allow Cuba to put at risk Florida’s major business and irreplaceable environment.”

The White House could not be reached for comment.

According to the Associated Press and Reuters, Cuba reached a deal in mid-January with Brazilian state oil company Petrobras to conduct deepwater exploratory drilling in the Gulf of Mexico off Cuba’s coast.

Companies from Spain, Canada, India and Malaysia already have exploration contracts with Cuba, according to AP.

The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that the North Cuba Basin may contain 4.6 billion barrels of oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Member Comments

On January 24, 2008, publisher wrote:

As you can see, my title is a bit more dramatic than the original title but isn’t that true? If this Senator gets his way, the US would expand its “territory” into Cuban waters.

And, once this is done, I would think that the Senator would then have a change of heart and allow US companies to drill for oil in waters formerly owned by Cuba.

I know this is a stretch but seems to me that this could be seen as an invasion of Cuba.

WOW. Almost seems like an act of war on paper.

Also, the US would piss off China, India, Brazil, Spain and all the other countries who have negotiated agreements for oil drilling in those blocks. What do we say to them, tough shit that property is ours now?

On January 24, 2008, publisher wrote:

Also, I found this interesting discussion about drilling for oil in the Cuba North Basin and it has great maps of the oil drilling potential and blocks off Cuba.

On January 24, 2008, Lars wrote:

...tough shit that property is ours now?
So it´s yours then? Well, you just happened to accept another historical mistake, again. Look around you!

On January 24, 2008, publisher wrote:


I’m from Massachusetts so we is the US in case I didn’t make that clear.

Please clarify your comment. Thanks.

On January 25, 2008, viajero wrote:

all I can say dear publisher is that Cuba is not Irak. i honestly don’t see this can happen but again, i have never trusted that much the foreign policy of the US governement….