Tags: Drilling Cuba Impact Gulf

Drilling Plans Off Cuba Stir Fears For Gulf

Thursday, 30 Sep 2010 02:22 PM


Five months after the BP oil spill, a federal moratorium still prohibits new deepwater drilling in the American waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And under longstanding federal law, drilling is also banned near the coast of Florida.

Yet next year, a Spanish company will begin drilling new wells 50 miles from the Florida Keys — in Cuba’s sovereign waters, The New York Times reports.

Cuba currently produces little oil. But oil experts say the country might have reserves along its north coast as plentiful as that of the international oil middleweights, Ecuador and Colombia — enough to bolster its faltering economy and cut its dependence on Venezuela for its energy needs.

The advent of drilling in Cuban waters poses risks both to the island nation and the United States.

Ocean scientists warn that a well blowout similar to the BP disaster could send oil spewing onto Cuban beaches and then the Florida Keys in as little as three days. If the oil reached the Gulf Stream, a powerful ocean current that passes through the region, oil could flow up the coast to Miami and beyond.

The nascent oil industry in Cuba is far less prepared to handle a major spill than even the American industry was at the time of the BP spill. Cuba has neither the submarine robots needed to fix deepwater rig equipment nor the platforms available to begin drilling relief wells on short notice.

Read the entire story at nytimes.com

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

   
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Thursday, 30 Sep 2010 02:22 PM
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