Posting in Cities
An offshore drilling industry is emerging in Cuba. American companies want in, even if it's just to clean up a potential mess.
Cuba could be drilling for oil off its shores for the first time, as soon as next year. Spanish company Repsol plans to drill exploratory wells in waters 5,600 feet deep about 22 miles off Havana.
Not surprisingly, American companies—still awaiting the BP blowout-inspired ban on offshore drilling to lift on November 30—want in. But the 1960s trade embargo with the communist state won't allow it.
According to McClatchy Newspapers, any ship or rig comprised of more than 10 percent U.S. parts can't operate in Cuba. (Repsol will use an Italian rig equipped with an American-made blowout preventer only.)
Cuba, like many Caribbean islands, currently relies heavily on oil imports from Venezuela.
After April's Gulf spill, the government office that enforces foreign economic sanctions said licenses for American companies to aid Cuba's offshore efforts could be granted in emergency situations.
To put it mildly, the sentiments surrounding this issue—offshore drilling, communism, environment, employment, economic sanctions, humanitarian efforts—run deep. But whatever the political implications, Cuba needs a rapid response spill plan before any drilling commences.
Related on SmartPlanet:
- Offshore drilling moratorium goes bust, or does it?
- Will Exxon's relocation of offshore rigs accelerate America's independence from oil?
- Robot embarks on journey to scan Gulf of Mexico for submerged oil
- Volcano power: Saint Lucia to tap into geothermal energy
Image: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
Sep 30, 2010
Cuba can't do any more to stop a blowout than the US can. Almost all the equipment needed to actually stop the BP blowout came from private concerns. Where Cuba needs a plan is in containment and collection of spilled oil. The next time a blowout happens, there's some hope it will be stopped a lot faster than the BP blowout. Nobody on the BP blowout had ever stopped a deep sea blowout in their working career, so there was a lot of learning going on. We now know it's pointless to try to stop a well until you have a cap fitted on the top to contain whatever you try to stuff down the well. Also, some of the equipment custom-built for the BP blowout can be recovered and stored for possible reuse on the next blowout, should it happen. Also, Cuba itself will not be drilling any wells. They will probably use many of the same contractors being used in the Gulf by the US. While that might sound like a recipe for disaster, my guess is that anybody involved in the BP blowout or who watched what happened will not let the same mistakes occur again. The next time upper management pushes for cutting corners, engineers and middle managers are a lot more likely to push back. The simple fact that the BP blowout happened is a powerful argument to do everything by the book. Nobody wants to go through that again in their lifetimes.
Why do we have an embargo on Cuba again? I'm not a fan of Castro, but it is a sovereign nation, and we have openly supported much worse countries both economically and militarily.
What a laugh, many European companies wanted to help in the BP disaster, who had more experience that the bunch BP used, But we wanted to us good old boys from the US not to mention US Corporate interests. I know it kills some people that the Cold War ended.