Cuba reached its target of 3.9 million tons of oil and gas in 2006, while foreign companies in association with the local Cubapetroleo, CUPET, corporation continue exploration in 30 other wells, reported Havana authorities.
The volume represents 50% of domestic consumption and seven times oil and gas production in 1990, totaling annual savings of 260 million US dollars for the battered Cuban economy, according to vice president Carlos Lage. A spokesperson for CUPET announced that twelve new wells are scheduled to be drilled this year in western Cuba where most proven reserves are, which should help bring CUPET's production to 2.2 million tons annually. Oil exploration in Cuba took off some fifteen years ago with Canadian corporations but has intensified in the last few years with the inclusion of new foreign companies which are mostly operating in the island's Gulf of Mexico EEZ which covers 112.000 square kilometers. According to CUPET Cuba's daily consumption of oil is 180.000 barrels of which it produces 80.000 barrels, with high sulphur content and is mostly used for electricity generation. The other 100.000 barrels are provided by Venezuela at preferential prices and which Cuba repays by sending doctors, teachers, nurses, sports coaches and other support personnel following an agreement signed in 2002. Meantime in Vienna a spokesperson for the oil cartel OPEC said that "new actions" may be needed to ensure support for oil prices that have unexpectedly dropped during the first week of 2007. "I feel something will have to be done if the tendency continues", said the spokesperson adding that "maybe not an extraordinary meeting, but simply taking action, if it proves necessary". OPEC has no meeting scheduled until March. Oil prices in New York dropped Thursday below 58 US dollars a barrel in spite of OPEC announced 500.000 bpd cut effective next February first, which will be topping 1.2 million bpd less since last November.