Cuba: Scarabeo 9 off Trinidad & Tobago
27 December 2011
Source: Trinidad & Tobago"s Newsday
December 27, 2011
CUBAN oil rig Scarabeo 9 has arrived in TT, Energy Minister
Kevin Ramnarine confirmed yesterday adding that he was advised by
officials from Spanish energy company Repsol YPF that Scarabeo 9
arrived on Christmas Eve and the rig is currently located off the
coast of Chaguaramas and is expected to remain there for a two week
period for inspection. Repsol is the client of the rig.
Newsday exclusively reported on December 11 that the rig would
be coming to TT while it was en route to Cuba. On December 12, a
statement issued by the United States Embassy in Port-of- Spain
said, "Repsol has informed the US government of its plans and
invited US government officials to observe an emergency drill
conducted in Trinidad related to contingency planning for the
"Repsol offered, and we accepted, the opportunity to embark the
rig to inspect equipment and relevant documentation. Such actions
are consistent with our ongoing efforts to minimise the possibility
of a major oil spill, which would hurt US economic and
environmental interests," the Embassy continued.
Stressing that the US government is focused on protecting its
environmental interests, the Embassy stated, "The drilling activity
does not require US approvals and will be conducted, in large
measure, by companies that do not operate in the United States."
Ramnarine said he was aware the Cubans would be sending officials
to inspect the rig and Repsol personnel would be involved in that
An article in the Miami Herald on December 24, said Cuba's plans
to use this rig to explore for oil and gas continues to raise red
The part of the article written by Captain Melissa Bert of the
US Coast Guard states: "The Scarabeo-9 drilling scenario is a
reprise of Deepwater, with similar drilling depth and distance from
US shores,and a worst-case discharge even higher than Macondo. An
oil blowout in Cuban waters could send crude to the beaches of
Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina."
Another part of the articles said unlike British Petroleum (BP),
"Repsol is not subject to US law." "Although Repsol has a strong
record, it is not accountable to US citizens in a disaster. Another
cause for concern is that US sanctions against Cuba prohibit US
companies from drilling in Cuba, supplying equipment to or
effecting safety regulations in Cuba, or even responding to an oil
spill in its waters," the article said.
After claiming that "Cuba's pollution response capability is
unknown," the article states that the Cuban government is currently
negotiating contracts with Brazil, Russia, China and India to lease
major portions of its waters.
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