Cuba has invited Japan to invest in its new oil drilling project, expected to begin early next year in its offshore economic zone.
Jose Fernandez de Cossio, Havana’s ambassador at Tokyo, said that “a legal framework exists in which Japanese firms can find business opportunities”, referring to the “real potential of Cuba’s petroleum industry”.
He also spoke about “Cuba’s interest in Japanese companies participating as partners in various aspects of the country’s high-priority oil industry”.
Cuba operates an area of about 112,000 square kilometers in the Gulf of Mexico. It will begin next year to drill five wells in the Gulf, in a region where it estimates that some 20 billion barrels of oil exist.
Cuba is already working in the area together with Norway’s Statoil, which has partnered with Spain’s Repsol, OVL of India and PDVSA of Venezuela.
Last year, Cuba’s onshore and offshore production totaled 21.4 million barrels. This represents about half of the island’s energy needs, while the rest is imported at discounted prices from its long-term partner Venezuela.