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20bn barrel oil discovery puts Cuba in the big league

Rory Carroll, The Guardian
Friends and foes have called Cuba many things – a progressive beacon, a quixotic underdog, an oppressive tyranny – but no one has called it lucky, until now .

Mother nature, it emerged this week, appears to have blessed the island with enough oil reserves to vault it into the ranks of energy powers. The government announced there may be more than 20bn barrels of recoverable oil in offshore fields in Cuba’s share of the Gulf of Mexico, more than twice the previous estimate.

If confirmed, it puts Cuba’s reserves on par with those of the US and into the world’s top 20. Drilling is expected to start next year by Cuba’s state oil company Cubapetroleo, or Cupet.

“It would change their whole equation. The government would have more money and no longer be dependent on foreign oil,” said Kirby Jones, founder of the Washington-based US-Cuba Trade Association. “It could join the club of oil exporting nations.”

… Havana based its dramatically higher estimate mainly on comparisons with oil output from similar geological structures off the coasts of Mexico and the US. Cuba’s undersea geology was “very similar” to Mexico’s giant Cantarell oil field in the Bay of Campeche, said Tenreyro.

A consortium of companies led by Spain’s Repsol had tested wells and were expected to begin drilling the first production well in mid-2009, and possibly several more later in the year, he said.

Cuba currently produces about 60,000 barrels of oil daily, covering almost half of its needs, and imports the rest from Venezuela in return for Cuban doctors and sports instructors.
(18 October 2008)

Oil Prices Slip Below $70 a Barrel

Jad Mouawad, New York Times
Oil prices dropped below $70 a barrel for the first time in 14 months Thursday, prompting the OPEC cartel to call for an emergency meeting next week to establish some stability in prices that have plummeted recently after rising for months.

… The decline in oil prices came after a government report showed domestic crude oil stockpiles rose more than expected as Americans use less oil, in part because they are driving less. In the last month, domestic oil demand has fallen to its lowest level since June 1999, at 18.6 million barrels a day, according to the Energy Department.
(16 October 2008)

Fuel Lines

Wahyoe Boediwardhana, The Jakarta Post

Hundreds of motorcyclists and motorists queue for fuel at a gas station on Jl. Mayjen Wiyono in Malang, East Java. Drivers were forced to queue on Monday and Tuesday because of delayed supplies from state oil and gas company Pertamina in Surabaya since Sunday. The lack of supply led retailers in the town to sell gasoline for Rp 8,000 a liter. (JP/Wahyoe Boediwardhana)
(15 October 2008)
Photo at original. EB contributor w52 writes:
I find these stories frequently now. There is a growing crisis in the developing world with regards to oil, gasoline and electricity.

Time In the Tank
(gas prices and wages)
Eric De Place, WorldChanging
Take a look:


Americans are falling behind — most of us anyway. We’re working longer than ever before to maintain a standard of living that once we took for granted. With respect to gas prices, average Americans are much worse off than they were in 1970.

The working poor, in particular, are getting absolutely crushed. Their economic standing has deteriorated even faster than the middle class. A full day’s work at the federal minimum wage won’t even pay for a single tank of gas. In a car-dependent nation, that means that even basic transportation is quickly getting out of reach for low-income families.

Interestingly, the pain is being felt way up the income ladder. In fact, you’d see the same kind of trends for virtually every income strata if I had plotted their purchasing power here (though the effect is less pronounced the higher you go)
(17 October 2008)