HAVANA – Russian state oil company JSC Zarubezhneft has opened an operations office in Havana with the aim of increasing production of oil and accompanying natural gas over the next few years, Cuban official media said.
Russia’s ambassador here, Mikhail Kaminin, said the move shows “the confidence of the Russian business community in the capacity and professionalism” of Cuban oil firms, the official AIN news agency reported, adding that trade between the two countries is strengthening, as are ties of friendship and solidarity.
For his part, Cuban Basic Industry Ministry adviser Miguel Marrero said a contract was recently signed with Russia to recover secondary oil reserves in Boca de Jaruco, a deposit east of Havana province.
Marrero also recalled that in November 2009 the Cuban and Russian governments signed four other association agreements for oil exploration – both offshore and on land – and production on the communist-ruled island.
They were the countries’ first bilateral oil accords since the demise of the Soviet Union, which subsidized the Cuban economy for decades.
Those agreements will enable JSC to operate for 25 years in blocks located in the Cuban provinces of Matanzas, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara and Ciego de Avila.
Several foreign oil companies such as Spain’s Repsol YPF, Venezuela’s PDVSA, Brazil’s Petrobras and Vietnam’s PetroVietnam operate in Cuba’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the Gulf of Mexico, a 112,000-square-kilometer (43,243-square-mile) area that is divided into 59 blocks.
State oil company Cupet estimates that Cuba has an estimated 20 billion barrels of possible offshore reserves. EFE