French oil company Total has denied it signed an agreement to explore for oil offshore Cuba, during a historic visit to the island nation by the French president Francois Hollande.
Cuban national television has informed the oil exploration deal between Total and Cubapetroleo was signed during the visit by the French president Hollande to Cuba on Monday, according to Reuters.
However, in an update by Reuters today, Total has denied any exploration agreement was signed in Cuba.
“Total categorically denies it has signed an offshore exploration agreement with Cuba,” Total’s spokesperson told Reuters.
According to U.S. Energy Information Administration, Cuba produced an estimated 49,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of petroleum and other liquids in 2014 and consumed 171,000 bbl/d.
Cuba imports most of its oil supply from Venezuela, which provides crude oil at a heavily subsidized rate under a 2000 energy agreement. Cuba is hoping to reduce its dependence on imported oil by uncovering what the country’s leaders say are 20 billion barrels of oil under the Carribean nation’s seabed.
U.S. Energy Information Administration has reported that as of January 2015, Cuba had 124 million barrels of proven crude oil reserves
The prospects of discovering oil in the deep waters off the northern coast of the country has drawn oil companies such as Repsol, Gazprom, PDVSA , Petronas and Zarubezhneft to drill in the communist country’s territorial waters, but those attempts have so far been unsuccessful.
As to why President Hollande’s visit is historic, he is the first French president to visit Cuba in more than a hundred years. He met with the country’s president Raul Castro, but he also met with his older and more famous brother Fidel.
Offshore Energy Today Staff