The drilling platforms are leaving:
Cuba’s Oil Bust
Last week, Florida’s Sun Sentinel reported that “after spending nearly $700 million during a decade, energy companies from around the world have all but abandoned their search for oil in deep waters off the north coast of Cuba near Florida.” Separately, CubaStandard.com reported on Friday that “the shallow-water drilling platform used by Russian oil company OAO Zarubezhneft will leave Cuban waters June 1, to be redeployed to Asia.”
The Brazilian state-owned Petrobras PETR4.BR -0.05% had given up on deep-sea drilling in Cuban waters in 2011. Repsol REP.MC -0.60% gave up in May 2012. The deep water platform it was using was then passed to Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas, which also came up empty. Venezuela’s PdVSA had no luck either. In November Cuba announced that the rig that had been in use would be heading to Asia. Last week came the end of shallow-water drilling.
The loss to the regime is not just about the foreign exchange that oil implied. The threat of spills, as well as lost opportunity for American companies, were ways for Cuba to engage the U.S. and perhaps even get the embargo lifted without having to make any human-rights concessions. Some Democrats, whose party is more often found in opposition to oil exploration, tried to help.
This also means that the Cuban Communist regime will try harder to keep those daily 100,000 barrels of Venezuelan oil coming, regardless; as you may recall, ending that gift is one of Capriles campaign promises.