Cuba gets new oil drilling director

10 Nov 2017   Cuba

Cuban oil development plans moved one step closer to operation with the naming of an on-site planning coordinator, an Australian energy company said. Melbana Energy Ltd. is one of the few Western energy companies with a Cuban portfolio, and the only one listed on the Australian stock exchange. The company said Thursday it chose a drilling director, Heriberto Vasco Mufioz, whose experience with Cuban and international oil companies spans more than 40 years. “This appointment is an important step as we build our organizational capability to progress through the permitting, procurement and logistics phases in preparation for the drilling of up to two wells in Block 9 production sharing contract commencing mid-2018,” Managing Director and CEO Peter […]

Cuban oil drilling ready for 2018

21 Oct 2017   Cuba

While looking for partners to join in, Australian energy company Melbana said it was positioned for an early start to an oil drilling program in Cuba next year. Melbana is one of the few foreign companies, and the only one listed on the Australian exchange, with a footprint in Cuba. The company was able to secure millions of dollars in a capital drive this year, but fell short of its goals. Funds raised this year are to support a drilling campaign in Cuba next year. “While the company intends to undertake a farm out process to potentially assist funding the drilling phase, Melbana is positioned to complete initial preparations for the planned Cuba drilling program in 2018,” Chairman Andrew […]

Cuban oil work moves toward exploration phase

12 Oct 2017   Cuba

Geological surveys of an inland oil basin in Cuba are completed and work will now continue toward exploration drilling, an Australian energy company said. Melbana is one of the few Western companies, and the only one listed on Australia’s stock exchange, with an established footprint in Cuba. The company said it completed a work program for its Block 9 basin in Cuba, which involved geological surveys of the area, and was ready to move on to an exploratory phase. “Melbana is pleased to provide formal notification to the Cuban regulator of our ongoing commitment to Block 9 based on its world-class exploration potential and we are well placed having already commenced preparatory engineering, permitting, and procurement activities to support the work program and […]

Cuban oil drilling program low on funds

12 Sep 2017   Cuba

An effort to raise up to $4.8 million to help fund drilling operations at a reservoir in Cuba fell well short of its goal, Melbana Energy Ltd. said. Melbana is one of the few Western companies, and the only one listed on Australia’s stock exchange, with an established footprint in Cuba. It initiated a push last month to raise capital for its preliminary efforts and said that through the placement of shares alone, it received $1.8 million that it would use to fund drilling preparations in Cuba and cover general corporate costs. On Monday, the company said an entitlement offer to raise $4.8 million fell short of the goal, raising $1.5 million. All told, the company said […]

Prep work begins at oil drilling site in Cuba

23 Aug 2017   Cuba

Melbana Energy, one of the few companies working in Cuba, said it started the preliminary work necessary to clear a site for eventual production. Melbana, which has headquarters in Australia, has a production sharing contract with the Cuban energy company known as CUPET for the so-called Block 9 onshore basin. The Australian company said local contractors were working with its personnel to get the proposed Alameda-1 well location ready for future operations. “The commencement of field survey work for Block 9 is a significant milestone in our preparation towards the drilling of up to two exploration wells in mid-2018 in our world-class Cuban acreage,” CEO Peter Stickland said in a statement . In a recent presentation, Melbana said the low-lying land for Block 9 […]

Cuban trade with Venezuela plunges over two years

16 Aug 2017   Cuba, Venezuela

Cuban trade with socialist ally Venezuela has fallen 70 percent since 2014 due to the South American oil producer’s inability to meet delivery contracts and purchase goods as it struggles with low oil prices and a resulting economic meltdown. A cash crunch and lower oil supplies from Venezuela have forced the Communist-run Caribbean island to slash imports and reduce the use of fuel and electricity, helping tip its centrally planned economy into recession in 2016 for the first time in nearly a quarter century. Merchandise trade with Venezuela fell to $2.2 billion in 2016, compared with $4.2 billion the year before and $7.3 billion in 2014, the Cuban National Statistics Office reported on […]

Oil exploration plans revealed for Cuba

20 Jul 2017   Cuba

Australian energy company Melbana outlines plans for oil exploration efforts in Cuba by next year. File photo by Ernesto Mastracusa/EPA. July 19 (UPI) — Amendments to a work plan for Cuban oil assets open the door for drilling exploration wells by the first half of next year, Australia’s Melbana Energy said. Melbana is one of the few Western oil companies, and the only one listed on the Australian exchange, with a footprint in Cuba. The national oil company of Cuba, CUPET, extended its contract last year for early exploration efforts in Block 9 by eight months to November 2017. At Melbana’s request, the Cuban company amended the work program again because of data assessments. “The amended Block 9 production sharing contract work program approved by CUPET is now aligned with Melbana’s stated ambition to accelerate drilling of up to two exploration wells in the highly prospective Block 9,” CEO […]

EXCLUSIVE-Venezuela oil exports to Cuba drop, energy shortages worsen

14 Jul 2017   Cuba, Venezuela

Venezuela’s crude and fuel deliveries to Cuba have slid almost 13 percent in the first half this year, according to documents from state-run oil company PDVSA viewed by Reuters, threatening to worsen gasoline and power shortages in the communist-run island. Cuba’s government since 2016 has reduced fuel allocations 28 percent to most state-run companies, and has cut electricity consumption. Public lighting was cut 50 percent, while residential electric use was spared. Beginning in March, Cubans also have reported minor gasoline and diesel shortages at service stations. Cuba’s economy depends heavily on Venezuelan crude shipments under a series of bilateral agreements started in 2000 by the South American country’s late President Hugo Chavez. In return, the island nation has provided Venezuela with Cuban doctors and other services. Venezuela’s […]

Cuba Scrambles As Venezuela’s Oil Industry Collapses

15 Jun 2017   Cuba, Venezuela

As Venezuela’s oil industry goes down it flames, it’s looking like it may just take Cuba down with it. Venezuela, once the crude powerhouse of South and Central America, is no longer able to produce enough oil to sustain its own economy, much less those of other countries. Cuba is frantically drilling in search for new reserves and reaching out for new suppliers, but there is no guarantee they’ll be able to stabilize their oil income any time soon. Cuba became dependent on Venezuelan oil in the 1990’s, when they were sold cut-price crude in exchange for the services of skilled laborers in order to bail them out of economic collapse in the wake of the fall of the Soviet Union. Currently, Cuba relies on foreign oil for more than two thirds of its daily consumption, with over 100,000 barrels of crude flowing from Venezuela every day for years. […]

Russia resumes oil shipments to Cuba, helps fill Venezuelan breach

4 May 2017   Cuba, Russia

Russia has begun shipping large quantities of oil to Cuba for the first time this century, sources said, as supplies to the island from crisis-wracked Venezuela have dwindled. A Russian oil tanker with 249,000 barrels of refined products is due to arrive in Cuba on May 10, according to Reuters shipping sources and others, bringing back memories of when the Soviet Union supplied all of the Communist-run Caribbean island’s energy needs. More tankers apparently will follow. Rosneft, Russia’s state oil company, announced on Wednesday it had signed an agreement with Cuba’s state-run Cubametals to supply 250,000 tonnes of oil and diesel fuel, without providing further details. The news is sure to raise eyebrows in Washington as its tense relations with Moscow continue, […]

Maduro maintains oil supplies to Cuba despite Venezuelan shortages

7 Feb 2017   Cuba, Venezuela

The price of oil is half of what Venezuela needs to feed its citizens, who for the most part do not manage to eat them three times a day, but the regime of Nicolás Maduro continues to supply fuel faithfully to Cuba although it does not receive dollars for the barrels sent to the island, publishes  El Nuevo Herald .  “For Maduro is a priority, and we know from different sources, keep the volume to Cuba. They are not sparing their efforts to meet that goal and are doing everything they can to maintain that commitment to Havana, “former PDVSA manager Petróleos de Venezuela said from Miami.
It is a commitment that subtracts funds that are urgently needed to import food in Venezuela, where only 3 percent of the population is eating three times a day and 52 percent say they only eat once, according to recent surveys that illustrate The magnitude of the crisis in that country.

Data provided by oil expert Jorge Piñón, based on official PDVSA figures, show that the South American country supplies Cuba with the equivalent of 87,000 barrels per day of oil and derivatives with an estimated value of $ 1.467 million.  By 2016, it is estimated that the volume of crude shipped decreased slightly to the island in the midst of the severe Venezuelan crisis and the gradual fall in production in the country, but conservative estimates put the total crude oil and products close to 70,000 barrels a day Said Piñón, director of the University of Texas Energy Program in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Cuba oil potential estimate revised higher

2 Feb 2017   Cuba

Cuba-focused Melbana Energy said it more the doubled its reserve estimates for onshore oil, though recovery rates there are low so far. Melbana is one of the few Western oil companies, and the only one listed on the Australian exchange, with a footprint in Cuba. In a statement on its reserve estimates, CEO Peter Stickland said the 612 million barrels of prospective oil in its Block 9 onshore area was “extraordinary.” “Significantly, these leads have the potential for billions of barrels of oil-in-place however the prospective resources so far assume only the historical 5 percent recovery factor from offset fields in Cuba,” he said. “The application of modern enhanced oil recovery techniques may increase the recovery factor and therefore has the […]

Cuba says economy shrank this year in tandem with Venezuela crisis

28 Dec 2016   Cuba, Venezuela

Containers are seen at the Mariel port in Artemisa province, Cuba January 5, 2016. Cuba’s economy shrank 0.9 percent this year in tandem with the crisis in its key trading partner Venezuela, President Raul Castro told the National Assembly on Tuesday in a closed-door speech, predicting a slightly brighter outlook for 2017. The figure suggests the economy contracted sharply in the second half after the cash-strapped government drastically cut imports, investment and fuel in response to lower exports and a drop in cheap oil deliveries from Venezuela. It had reported 1 percent growth for the first half. “Restrictions in cash and in the provision of fuel worsened in the second half,” Castro said, according to excerpts published by official media outlet Cubadebate. “Financial tensions and challenges that might intensify again in certain circumstances will persist, but we hope that gross domestic product will grow moderately, by around 2 percent […]

Cuba and Venezuela’s Ties of Solidarity Fray

15 Dec 2016   Cuba, Venezuela

Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez proclaimed a decade ago that they presided over a single country, combining Cuba’s educated workforce with Venezuela’s oil wealth to challenge U.S. power across Latin America. Now Mr. Castro is gone , three years after Mr. Chávez’s death, and the union between their two countries, while still strong on paper, is withering away fast. Daily shipments of more than 100,000 barrels of subsidized Venezuelan oil, the lifeblood of Cuba’s economy, have dropped by more than half since 2013, according to oil traders and Cuban refinery workers. In November, Cuba had to buy oil on the open market for the first time in 12 years, because of Venezuela’s plummeting output. Meanwhile, thousands of Cuban doctors who toiled in Venezuelan shantytowns to pay off the oil deliveries are quietly returning […]

Cuban oil program accelerating

7 Dec 2016   Cuba

A Cuban-focused oil company said it was taking a closer look at the business climate there with the goal of accelerating its drilling program next year. Melbana, a company known formerly as MEO Australia, said it had a team on the ground in Cuba coordinating with regulators and international service providers to verify the requirements and the access to local contractors available for a developing work program. “So far, these investigations suggest that good quality equipment and contractors are available for drilling in Block 9 in a reasonable time period,” the company said in a statement. The national oil company of Cuba, CUPET, extended its contract for early exploration efforts in an onshore area called Block 9 by eight months to November 2017. Through the end of September, Melbana, one of the few Western companies working in Cuba , said it identified reservoirs in […]

Australian energy company rewarded for Cuban oil efforts

24 Nov 2016   Cuba

Australian energy company Melbana said its early work in Cuba has paid off with a contract extension. Photo by U.S. Department of State/UPI MELBOURNE, Nov. 23 (UPI) — An Australian energy company that’s one of the few foreign companies working in Cuba said it was rewarded for its efforts with a contract extension. Melbana Energy Ltd., formerly MEO Australia, said the national oil company of Cuba, CUPET, extended its contract for early exploration efforts in an onshore area called Block 9 by eight months to November 2017. “As a result, the overall Block 9 production sharing contract exploration period remains unchanged at eight and a half years and will continue until March, 2024,” the company said in a statement. In an update on operations through the end of September, the company, one of the few Western companies working in Cuba, said it identified oil plays in so-called Block 9 […]

Cuban oil explorer lifted by easing U.S. sanctions

19 Oct 2016   Cuba

One of the few foreign energy companies working in Cuba said the momentum is moving in its favor as the U.S. government eases restrictions on its Cold War foe. The Cuban government in 2014 enacted legislation offering corporate tax credits to encourage foreign investments. The U.S. government the same year started easing a 54-year trade embargo on Cuba and later reopened its embassy in Havana. Last week, the U.S. President Barack Obama issued an executive directive that could open Cuba to a role in institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which Washington said could provide an advantage to the Cuban economy. MEO Australia Ltd. is one of the few foreign companies operating […]

Cuba Turns to Foreign Investors as Cheap Venezuelan Oil Fades

2 Sep 2016   Cuba

Backers sought to help build $3.5 billion in renewables Island wants 24 percent of power from renewables by 2030 Nearly two years after presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro announced a thaw in relations, Cuba’s communist government is turning to foreign investors to boost renewable energy as it faces cutbacks in cheap oil imports from Venezuela. The government formed by Fidel Castro in 1959 and led by his brother, Raul, is pitching large wind and solar projects and biomass plants that run on sugar cane to foreign companies at conferences like one opening Thursday in Havana. The goal: Bring billions of dollars into sectors that until recently were controlled by state-run entities, and lift the amount of electricity produced by renewables to 24 percent by 2030 from 4 percent today. The shift is less about ideology than supply and demand. The island nation relies heavily on oil-burning power plants […]

Cuban oil surveys progressing

16 Aug 2016   Cuba

A study assessing the resource potential for parts of Cuba is progressing as planned and quickly becoming a key portfolio component, MEO Australia said. The Australian company said it was expecting the results of an assessment from two parts of its Block 9 production sharing contract in Cuba during the fourth quarter. Work is already underway to lay the groundwork for a drilling program there. CEO Peter Stickland said in a statement Cuba is quickly emerging as an integral part of the company’s portfolio. “Given the huge resource potential we identified in the first of the three play types on Block 9, we are looking forward to seeing the results of the assessment of the remaining two plays,” he said. According […]

Venezuela’s economic woes send a chill over closest ally Cuba

27 Jul 2016   Cuba, Venezuela

The crisis in Venezuela has spread to its closest ally Cuba, with Havana warning of power rationing and other shortages that some fear could mark a return to the economic austerity that traumatised the island nation after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Only a year after the euphoria that followed the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with the US, hopes of an economic rebound in Cuba have faded and an undercurrent of concern and frustration is evident on the streets of the capital.  “Just when we thought we were going forward, everything is slipping away again,” says Havana retiree Miriam Calabasa. “I am worried people are going to decide enough is enough: then what?”  Government offices now close early, with open windows and whirring fans in lieu of air-conditioners. Already scant public lighting has been reduced further, and traffic in Havana and other cities is down noticeably.

In Spite Of Its Vast Oil Reserves, Cuba Fails To Woo Investors

13 Feb 2016   Cuba

With the end of the 54-year U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, and Cuban government moves to encourage foreign investors, Cuba is a suddenly attractive venue that is sitting on an estimated 4.6 billion barrels of oil and promising tantalizingly low production costs that defy low oil prices. In December 2014, the U.S. lifted the trade embargo, and earlier that year—banking on an end to the embargo—Cuba began to lay the foundation for attracting foreign investment by offering corporate tax credits. It sounds great—but there has been no rush onto this playing field. Throughout last year, Cuba was busy trying to sell itself as the next up-and-coming venue. What it has to offer is total undiscovered technically recoverable reserves of 4.6 billion barrels of crude oil, 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 900 million barrels of natural gas liquids, based on 2004 estimates by the United States Geological […]

Cuba To Drill For Oil In Deep Water Despite Low Prices

22 Oct 2015   Cuba

Cuba plans to drill exploratory deepwater wells in the Gulf of Mexico by the end of 2016 or beginning of 2017 despite current low oil prices, officials from the state oil monopoly said. Cuba-Petroleo (Cupet) will drill exploratory wells as deep as 7,000 meters (223,000 ft) in waters of up to 3,000 meters in production sharing contracts with Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and Angola’s Sonangol. “We will initiate a drilling campaign at the end of 2016 or the start of 2017,” Osvaldo Lopez, Cupet’s head of exploration, told Reuters on Wednesday. “The essential goal of the new drilling campaign is at least two deep wells. There could be three. […]

Cuban Oil: Black Gold or Black Hole?

15 Oct 2015   Cuba

Cuba has oil and gas. That is certain, say geologists. The big question is just how much. Chris Schenk, Geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, was one of the first to assess the island’s natural resources. By Schenk’s estimate Cuba has at least 4.6 billion barrels of undiscovered oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of undiscovered natural gas. Both are considered significant enough to pique the interest of any major energy company in the world. “People are always interested in where the oil is,” Schenk told The challenge is finding and tapping those resources, which are said to be primarily in the North Cuba Basin on the northwestern part of the island. Source: USGS U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro sat down at the United Nations in late September as part of the ongoing efforts to thaw relations that began earlier this year. Even before […]

Report: Cuba may get oil help from Angola

22 Jul 2015   Angola, Cuba

Cuba expects to kick start its deepwater oil exploration activity with assistance from Angola’s state-run energy company Sonangol, a Cuban official said. Cuba is opening its doors more for Western powers after a long Cold War policy of isolation from the United States. The country in the past worked to cut the amount of oil it imports from Venezuela through development of its own offshore reserves. An unnamed official from Cuba’s Cubapetroleo, or Cupet, told energy reporting service Argus the preliminary deal with Sonangol outlines drilling schedules. “The matters to be determined include which of the blocks contracted by Sonangol will be drilled, the sourcing of a rig and the timing of the start of the work,” the official said. The U.S. Geological Survey, which reviewed […]

Cuba insists it has oil; U.S. companies still uninterested

7 May 2015   Cuba

Cuba unveiled new data on Wednesday it said confirmed there were billions of barrels of oil beneath its Gulf of Mexico waters but admitted there was little interest in new exploration even with the thaw in U.S. relations. The United States and Cuba have vowed to restore diplomatic relations after more than 50 years of animosity, but the comprehensive U.S. trade embargo remains in place. While U.S. tourism, transportation and agriculture companies position themselves for Cuban business, oil companies have proven less eager since three exploratory wells came up dry in 2012. Low oil prices and new opportunities in Mexico’s liberalized oil sector are also seen depressing interest. “Despite the opening we haven’t encountered U.S. company interest,” Pedro Sorzano, commercial director of state oil monopoly CubaPetroleo (Cupet), told reporters at Cuba’s annual geological sciences convention. Cuba hopes the discovery of oil offshore will free it from […]

Venezuela: Cuban Military Personnel Return Home

10 Jan 2015   Cuba, Venezuela

Hundreds of Cuban military personnel have reportedly left Venezuela for Cuba, according to unconfirmed reports from former Monagas state Governor Jose Briceno, Diario de Cuba reported Jan. 9. The reason for the movement is unknown. Meanwhile, a group assembled in Caracas’ La Candelaria neighborhood to protest food and goods shortages , El Universal reported. Long waiting lines for basic goods — including corn flour, cooking oil, milk, diapers and deodorant — have become the norm in Venezuela.

Putin vows to help develop offshore Cuba

15 Jul 2014   Cuba

Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the conclusion of a regional visit his government would help Cuba’s state oil company develop offshore reserves. Putin met in Havana with Cuban President Raul Castro during a tour of Latin American countries. Putin said Russian oil company Rosneft would help its counterparts at state-owned Cubapetroleo develop offshore Cuban reserves. “Developing new blocks on Cuba’s offshore shelf is (expected) in the very near future,” the Russian president said Sunday. Cuba has limited proven reserves of its own and relies on imports from Latin American countries to meet its energy demands. Cuba had weighed joint partnerships with its Russian counterparts as recently as 2012. Cuba aims to cut the amount of oil it imports from Venezuela through development of its own offshore reserves. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that, as of 2009, Cuba had less than 1 billion barrels of oil reserves.