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Oil rig arrives off Cuba for new exploration

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm •  Published: December 15, 2012

Geologic surveys say 5 billion to 9 billion barrels of oil may lie off Cuba's coast. Island authorities hope there may be even more and have been banking on a big strike.

An injection of petrodollars could boost Cuba's struggling economy, bankroll President Raul Castro economic reforms and ease the island's energy dependence on Venezuela, which has sent billions of dollars' worth of oil on preferential terms.

"The new well has the objective of determining the potential of petroleum and natural gas in this sector of our country," the notice in Granma read. "Its results should contribute to the knowledge of the area of the perforation, as well as all of north-central Cuba."

Cuba's oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico has prompted protest from Cuban exiles in the United States and alarmed some who fear a spill could befoul American shores from Florida to the Carolinas.

The notice in Granma said the Songa Mercur rig also underwent safety inspection and is capable of drilling with minimum environmental risk.