Friday, May 27, 2011

Lawmaker: Castro brothers must not become "oil tycoons"

A Florida Republican proposed a law on Friday aimed at deterring Cuba's oil exploration efforts.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen says she wants to prevent Fidel and Raul Castro from becoming "the oil tycoons of the Caribbean." (Download 14-page bill).
Her proposal would deny U.S. visas to officers of foreign companies that invest $1 million or more in Cuba's oil-drilling efforts.
Also blacklisted would be the officers' spouses, children and representatives.
The proposal would also target shareholders who have a controlling interest in the companies, as well as their spouses, children and representatives.
In addition, the proposal would make it illegal for "any U.S. citizen to help the regime explore for drilling opportunities in Cuban waters."
I wonder if any U.S. citizens have helped produce any components of the oil-drilling equipment and/or rigs that Cuba is using.
A press release from the lawmaker's office read:
In addition to protecting American waters and coastlines, this bill will deny the Cuban regime an opportunity to fill its own coffers with oil money while they continue to oppress and abuse the Cuban people and undermine the security interests of the U.S.
We cannot allow the Castro regime to become the oil tycoons of the Caribbean. I will continue to work with my Congressional colleagues to prevent oil drilling by the Cuban regime, which poses a national security and environmental threat to the United States.
The bill reads:
As of June 2010, eight foreign oil companies had signed agreements with the Cuban regime for the exploration of oil and gas off the shores of Cuba. Repsol of Spain, StatOil of Norway, and ONGC of India are partners in a joint project, while Petrobras of Brazil, PdVSA of Venezuela, ONGC of India, Petronas of Malaysia, and PetroVietnam also have additional concessions, and Sonangol of Angola and CNPC of China were in negotiations for concessions.
As of June 2010, five foreign companies had secured land and marine block concessions from the Cuban regime, including PdVSA of Venezuela, Sinopec of China, Sherritt of Canada, Zarubezhneft of Russia, and PetroVietnam.
A Chinese-built drilling rig, known as the Scarabeo 9, which belongs to Saipem, a unit of Italian oil company ENI SpA, is expected to arrive to Cuba in mid-2011.
A Repsol-led consortium that includes Norway’s Statoil and ONGC Videsh, a unit of India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corp, has reportedly contracted the rig first to drill off of Cuba’s northwestern coast, then will pass it on to other companies with leases for offshore blocks.

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