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Cuba starts oil drilling in deep waters

(Xinhua)

13:14, February 03, 2012

HAVANA, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- A Spanish oil company has started drilling the first well in Cuban deep waters by using a Chinese-made oil rig, the company said Thursday.

The Scarabeo-9 oil rig began its operation on Tuesday night and drilled about 30 miles off shore northwest of Havana, the company Repsol-YPF said.

The oil platform, with a drilling capability of 3,600 meters deep, will be used to drill over 1,524 meters here in Cuba.

Experts said the drilling of such wells takes about 60 days to complete.

This would be the first of the five oil wells planned by the Cuban oil authorities to be drilled in 2012 and 2013.

Official figures show Cuba produced 4 million tons of oil and gas in 2011, which only satisfied half of its domestic need. The rest is bought from Venezuela in exchange for professional services.

Cuban state-run oil company Cubapetroleo claims to have a reserve of 20,000 million barrels of oil in its northern waters at the Gulf of Mexico, while the U.S. Geological Survey estimates a more modest figure of 5,000 million barrels.

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