Petrobras to explore just off northwest Cuba

Exploration / Development
By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, Oct. 31 — Brazil’s Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras), building on agreements signed earlier this year, plans to explore Block 37 in the Florida Straits just off Cuba’s north coast.

The exploration period for the block is 7 years in four periods of 18-24 months each. At the end of each period, Petrobras will decide whether to remain in the contract. The rights can be extended 25 years in case of a commercial discovery.

Cuba’s state Cubapetroleo (Cupet) retains the option to participate further in the project, paying for past and future investments corresponding to costs related to exploration, development, and production, Petrobras said.

In February, reports said Petrobras signed several cooperation agreements with Cupet, marking the first involvement for Brazil in the Cuban oil and gas sector, which Venezuela had previously dominated (OGJ, Feb. 4, 2008, p. 34).

Block 37 is in 500-1,600 m of water between Havana and Matanzas and 90-95 miles south of Key West, Fla.

North of the west end of Block 37, Repsol YPF drilled the Yamagua-1 exploration well in 2004 in Block 27 about 20 miles northeast of Havana. That well, drilled to TD 3,410 m in 1,660 m of water, revealed the absence of a seal but showed “the existence of oil generation in the basin as well as an excellent carbonate complex,” Repsol said.

Petrobras’s Block 37 adjoins Block 7, which is operated by Sherritt International Corp., Toronto. Block 7 contains several offshore heavy oil fields drilled directionally from shore (see map, OGJ, Jan. 10, 2005, p. 31). Block 7 extends 7-10 km off the coast.

Sherritt relinquished deepwater Blocks 16, 23, 24, and 33 in the Catoche basin to the west of Block 37 earlier this month, saying exploration was not worth continuing (OGJ Online, Oct. 17, 2008).

Meanwhile, Cupet signed an agreement recently with Russia’s Zarubezhneft to improve recovery of heavy oil from Boca de Jaruco field, IHS Inc. reported. Boca de Jaruco field, discovered in 1968 on the north coast, is within the coverage area of Block 7 but is excluded from it.



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