HAVANA – Cuba's basic industry minister said the island produced an
estimated 4 million tons of oil equivalent in 2011, an amount roughly
unchanged from the previous four years, state media reported.
During an appearance Tuesday before the National Assembly's Energy and
Environment Committee, Tomas Benitez said this year's result was
equivalent to about half of the island's oil and gas consumption, the
state-run Prensa Latina news agency reported.
Development of Cuba's oil and gas wells, some of which have been in
service for up to three decades, is being carried out in compliance with
international standards, Benitez said.
A report presented by the Energy and Environment Committee, meanwhile,
said this year's production represents just over 98 percent of planned
output, attributing the shortfall to inferior results at some new wells
and technological difficulties.
Executives from Cuban state oil company Cupet also presented lawmakers
with a plan for increasing revenues from the sector, including ensuring
sufficient funding, signing necessary agreements with foreign suppliers,
carrying out repairs of crude storage and treatment tanks and increasing
Cuba's most promising oil region is the Exclusive Economic Zone, located
in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and estimated to hold between 5
billion and 9 billion barrels of petroleum.
The EEZ covers some 112,000 sq. kilometers (43,240 sq. miles) and is
divided into 59 blocks of 2,000 sq. kilometers (772 sq. miles) each, 22
of which have been awarded to foreign companies such as Spain's
Repsol-YPF, Venezuela's PDVSA and Vietnam's PetroVietnam.
According to official figures, the island also has 13 onshore blocks –
eight awarded to Cupet and five to foreign companies.
Cupet is awaiting the arrival of a Chinese-built, Repsol-hired rig that
will conduct exploratory drilling and determine the oil potential of
Cuba's territorial waters.
Cuba's oil and gas output has stabilized over the past five years at a
level of 4 million tons of oil equivalent, according to the Basic
Industry Ministry, which says that production represented revenues of
more than $1.3 billion in 2010. EFE