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The official blog of Fausta's Blog Talk Radio show.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The “Cuban oil” Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean


Welcome to the Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean. If you would like your posts included in the next carnival please email me: faustaw2 "at" gmail "dot" com.

This week's two big stories: Cuba and oil, and Obama on Colombia.
Cuba claims massive oil reserves.

The BBC ran the story last Friday, and the numbers come from - where else - the Cuban government, which claims more than double the previous estimate of oil reserves:

The US Geological Survey (USGS) recently estimated that as much as 9bn barrels of oil and 21 trillion cubic feet of natural gas could lie within that zone, in the North Cuba Basin.

Map showing area of North Cuba Basin

However, Cubapetroleo exploration manager Rafael Tenreyro Perez said his company's estimate was higher because it had better information about Cuba's offshore geology.

"I'm almost certain that if [USGS officials] ask for all the data we have, their estimate is going to grow considerably," he told a news conference in the capital, Havana.

If correct, Cuba's oil reserves would be almost the same as those of the US - 21bn barrels, according to the Oil & Gas Journal - and nearly twice the size of Mexico's - 11.7bn barrels.

I asked oil industry expert and former PDVSA board member Gustavo Coronel his opinion on these figures and he replied,
No country can claim oil reserves unless some basic requirements can be met:
sufficient geophysical exploration,
successful exploration,
sufficient number of confirmatory wells,
clear definition of the dimensions of the reservoir,
certainty that the production of the oil can be economically done.

All of this and more is necessary before a country can claim to have X barrels of oil reserves.

Cuba, so far, has done NO one of these things. In fact, one of the very few companies looking for oil in this area of Cuban territorial waters, SHERRITT, a Canadian company (I think) just CALLED IT QUITS, gave up its rights to continue exploration. Why would a company do this
if there were the enormous oil "reserves" claimed by Cuba?
Sherritt indeed has canceled its agreement for operations in Cuban waters, saying the ventures were not viable:
Sherritt's evaluation was that exploration activity was not worth continuing, an option available within its contract, said Cupet Exploration Director Rafael Tenreyro. "They have their reasons for not continuing," he said.
That's the same Rafael Tenreyro Perez who claims that Cuba has twice as much oil as anyone else's estimate. Earlier this year Sherritt had relenquished its deepwater blocks off Cuba because it could not attract a partner to share the development costs and risks.

So much for the facts on the Cuban claims. But don't be surprised if you hear about it in the media. After all, they keep praising Cuba's healthcare even when Fidel himself had to import a gastroenterologist/oncologist to save himself.

Oil? More like snake oil.

Obama Is Wrong About Colombia: Labor unions are much safer under Uribe.
It is far safer to be a union member today in Colombia than to be a member of the general population. This is a fact, and it would be interesting to know why Mr. Obama has repeatedly refused to acknowledge it.

Is it because of his heavy reliance on campaign contributions from the antitrade AFL-CIO? Or perhaps, like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Mr. Obama has an ideological bias in favor of Colombia's hard left. If it's the latter, then it is worth asking whether an Obama presidency would change U.S. foreign policy to look more favorably on insurgents of the FARC variety.
Here's Mary Anastasia O'Grady:

Trade winds: Finally, a deal with Europe

Bad Bets: Currency worries in Brazil and Mexico

Rediscovering Latin America

Argentina faces court battle over airline

Live search maps for Argentina

Letter of the Civil Society of Cochabamba to the International Community - Comite Civico de Cochabamba

Brazil's Future Going the Way of Oil

Police battle police in Sao Paulo. video

The FARC’s shrinking world

Defector Recounts Escape: Alcantara One of Two Players to Leave Team During U.S.

Via Babalu, The Ghosts of Communism

The sounds of tyranny

Ecuador’s New Constitution First to Guarantee Rights to Nature

Correa warns against “illegitimate” debt

Ecuador is not a democracy

Cardenal ecuatoriano ataca al gobierno frente al Papa

Ecuador vs. Democracy

Cae una importante red de narcos colombianos en México

Via LGF linkviewer, State Department warns against travel to Mexico: Deadliest drug zone invites Americans to tour 'land of encounters'

Mexico to deport Cuban migrants

Periodistas de Nicaragua cargan contra Daniel Ortega por “dictador”

Return of Peru's Shining Path as terror movement kills 19 soldiers

Peru’s unloved president: Pursued by the ghosts of the past

A minor earthquake hit Puerto Rico on Saturday, Magnitude 3.0 - PUERTO RICO REGION causing no damage.

Enill: T&T has 64 years worth of oil and gas reserves

Just as the country is hit by a huge electrical blackout (the third one this year), Sean Penn is back in Venezuela for an unannounced visit: Sean Penn llega a Venezuela y se reúne con Hugo Chávez (+ Fotos) If you’re fluent in Spanish, you’ll love the comments (most not suitable for work!) .

Those exquisite little moments that bring you a big smile on your face

Oil-Fueled Nation Feels Pinch
As the Price of Crude Plunges, Venezuela Is Poised to Face a Lot of Pain

Venezuelans have no Electricity nor Water this October 19, 2008

Feeling the pinch: Chavez Says Oil Between $80 and $90 Is `Sufficient'

What will Chávez do without Castro?

Vivanco speaks out

Terrorist worship in Venezuela

Hugo Chavez Celebrates End of Free Markets, Demands Recipe for Chicken-Fried Bacon

NPR Touts Hugo Chavez, End to 'Free Market Fundamentalism'

Venezuela's government looking to establish new 6-hour workday

Hurricane fears ease in Caribbean

Palin Thwarts The Gas Cartel

Stances on trade are worlds apart

On trade agreements, Obama's playing with fire

Special thanks to Eneas, GoV, Maggie, and Maria.


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