This week’s two big stories: Cuba and oil, and Obama on Colombia.
Cuba claims massive oil reserves.
The BBC ran the story last Friday, and the numbers come from – where else – the Cuban government, which claims more than double the previous estimate of oil reserves:
The US Geological Survey (USGS) recently estimated that as much as 9bn barrels of oil and 21 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could lie within that zone, in the North Cuba Basin.
However, Cubapetroleo exploration manager Rafael Tenreyro Perez said his company’s estimate was higher because it had better information about Cuba’s offshore geology.
“I’m almost certain that if [USGS officials] ask for all the data we have, their estimate is going to grow considerably,” he told a news conference in the capital, Havana.
If correct, Cuba’s oil reserves would be almost the same as those of the US – 21bn barrels, according to the Oil & Gas Journal – and nearly twice the size of Mexico’s – 11.7bn barrels.
I asked oil industry expert and former PDVSA board member Gustavo Coronel his opinion on these figures and he replied,
No country can claim oil reserves unless some basic requirements can be met:
sufficient geophysical exploration,
sufficient number of confirmatory wells,
clear definition of the dimensions of the reservoir,
certainty that the production of the oil can be economically done.
All of this and more is necessary before a country can claim to have X barrels of oil reserves.
Cuba, so far, has done NO one of these things. In fact, one of the very few companies looking for oil in this area of Cuban territorial waters, SHERRITT, a Canadian company (I think) just CALLED IT QUITS, gave up its rights to continue exploration. Why would a company do this if there were the enormous oil “reserves” claimed by Cuba?
Sherritt’s evaluation was that exploration activity was not worth continuing, an option available within its contract, said Cupet Exploration Director Rafael Tenreyro. “They have their reasons for not continuing,” he said.
That’s the same Rafael Tenreyro Perez who claims that Cuba has twice as much oil as anyone else’s estimate. Earlier this year Sherritt had relenquished its deepwater blocks off Cuba because it could not attract a partner to share the development costs and risks.
So much for the facts on the Cuban claims. But don’t be surprised if you hear about it in the media. After all, they keep praising Cuba’s healthcare even when Fidel himself had to import a gastroenterologist/oncologist to save himself.
Oil? More like snake oil.
It is far safer to be a union member today in Colombia than to be a member of the general population. This is a fact, and it would be interesting to know why Mr. Obama has repeatedly refused to acknowledge it.
Is it because of his heavy reliance on campaign contributions from the antitrade AFL-CIO? Or perhaps, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr. Obama has an ideological bias in favor of Colombia’s hard left. If it’s the latter, then it is worth asking whether an Obama presidency would change U.S. foreign policy to look more favorably on insurgents of the FARC variety.
Here’s Mary Anastasia O’Grady:UPDATE
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