Desperate to end its dependence on oil from the Middle East, United States’ officials are certainly aware of Cuba’s oil-producing potential.
In its 2004 assessment, the U.S. Geological Survey found that Cuba has 5 billion barrels of crude oil off its northern shores; Havana claims it has 20 billion .
Five billion barrels would put Cuba on par with Colombia or Ecuador, while 20 billion barrels would make Cuba’s oil capacity comparable to that of the United States’ and place it among the top 15 oil reserves nations in the world.
Either way, Cuba’s oil is attracting the attention of oil companies from around the globe. At the moment, Spain’s Repsol, Brazil’s Petrobras, and Norway’s StatoilHydro are overseeing exploratory drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. India, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Venezuela also have signed deals with Cuba.