Petrobras to resume oil exploration in Cuba

Peter Howard Wertheim
OGJ correspondent

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept.15 -- Brazil's state owned oil company Petrõleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) plans to resume oil exploration activities in Cuba, said José Eduardo Dutra, the company's president.

Dutra announced that Petrobras and the Cuban state oil company Cubapetroleo SA had signed a letter of intent for the exchange of technological information. Analysts said that this is the first step towards Petrobras' accepting Cuba's invitation to explore for oil in deep water off Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico (OGJ Online, July 28, 2003).

Petrobras exploration and production director Guilherme Estrella told OGJ that Petrobras technical personnel went to Cuba to evaluate the viability of the Cuban government's invitation.

Cuba is now tendering other areas for oil exploration in the GOM.

"The same way we operate in other Latin American countries, we're interested in operating in Cuba," Dutra said.

About 5 years ago, Petrobras invested $15 million prospecting for oil in the shallow waters off the Cuban resort of Caio Coco, but no oil was found.

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