Cuba’s crude oil production saw an increase in 2010, rising to 52,623 b/d from the 47,517 b/d produced in 2009, according to a recent study of the Caribbean nation’s oil and gas industry.
“This new production was predominantly as a result of new record breaking 6,000 m horizontal drilling coastal prospects around the town of Camarioca, east of the beach resort of Varadero in Matanzas province,” said the report’s author, Jorge R. Pinon, a research fellow with the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University.
State-owned Cubapetroleo SA’s (Cupet) gross working interest in 2010 was 31,419 b/d, while Canada’s Sherritt International’s gross working interest was 21,204 b/d, according to the report.
Estimates of oil in place for Cuba’s northern oil province range from 1-2 billion bbl, with recovery ratios of between 6-7% of OOIP determined by the viscosity of the oil and the permeability of the rocks.
According to Pinon, future production is expected to increase as a result of planned enhanced oil recovery projects between Cupet and Russia’s Zarubezhneft in Boca de Jaruco field.
Meanwhile, the report states that associated natural gas production seemed to be reaching a plateau of 38 bcf/year as a result of the maturity of the Varadero and Puerto Escondido oil fields.
Cuba saw its associated gas production increase by more than 40%, from 26 bcf in 2005, as a result of its Energas joint venture with Sherritt.
Cuba’s oil demand has been on the decline over the last 5 years primarily as a result of conservation efforts and increases in fuel and electricity prices reflecting international market conditions.
In 2010, oil demand of 137,025 b/d reflected a decrease from the 2009 demand level of 139,651 b/d, the report states.
More than 65% of total demand, or 89,868 b/d, was met by high-sulfur residual fuel oil/crude oil blend, which is used as boiler fuel for the electric power industry, as well as the steel, mining, and cement industries.
At 26,453 b/d, diesel represented the second-largest petroleum demand product, used by the commercial land transport and rail industries.
Motor gasoline consumption stood at just 6,184 b/d, representing the lack of a private-sector vehicle fleet.
Cuba’s Havana and Santiago de Cuba refineries continue to run intermittently, each averaging about 22,000 b/d, well down from their respective boiler plate capacities of 100,000 b/d.
The revamped, Russian-built 65,000 b/d Cienfuegos refinery, today a nearly equal joint venture of Cupet and Venezuela’s Petroleos de Venezuela SA, ran 55,295 b/d in 2010 compared with 57,316 b/d in 2009.
The Cienfuegos refinery is in a hydroskimming configuration with a reformer, but with two naphta and distillate hydrotreating units, which have not been revamped and are not operating—rendering substandard diesel and gasoline, according to regional specifications.
Cuba imported a total of 113,000 b/d of refined products and oil from Venezuela in 2010 compared with 112,000 b/d in 2009, according to the 2010 financial reports of PDVSA.
Imports of Venezuela’s refined products—including aviation fuel, LPG, lubricant base stock, diesel, and fuel oil—amounted to about 14,000 b/d in 2010 up nearly 60% from about 9,000 b/d in 2009. Venezuela’s Mesa 30 crude oil imports amounted to 99,000 b/d in 2010 from 103,000 b/d in 2009.
Most of Cuba’s Venezuelan petroleum import volumes of 93,000 b/d arrive under terms of the Convenio Integral de Cooperacion Economica (Caribe)—a barter agreement with subsidized payment terms signed by both countries in October 2000.
The report states that 20,000 b/d of Cuba’s total imports of Venezuela’s oil represent PDVSA-Caribe equity tolling volumes which are exported to regional and West African markets via tenders to international oil trading companies.
Two years ago, Venezuela asserted plans to invest $10 billion in downstream projects in Cuba by 2015 through a unit of PDVSA working with Cupet. But with oil prices low, however, there were questions whether all or any of the projects would be funded (OGJ Online, May 4, 2009).
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