Australian energy company rewarded for Cuban oil efforts
Melbana Energy said it's laying the ground work for a stronger drilling
By Daniel J. Graeber | Nov. 23, 2016 at 6:31 AM
MELBOURNE, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- An Australian energy company that's one of
the few foreign companies working in Cuba said it was rewarded for its
efforts with a contract extension.
Melbana Energy Ltd., formerly MEO Australia, said the national oil
company of Cuba, CUPET, extended its contract for early exploration
efforts in an onshore area called Block 9 by eight months to November 2017.
"As a result, the overall Block 9 production sharing contract
exploration period remains unchanged at eight and a half years and will
continue until March, 2024," the company said in a statement.
In an update on operations through the end of September, the company,
one of the few Western companies working in Cuba, said it identified oil
plays in so-called Block 9 that combine for an estimated 8.2 billion
barrels of oil in place. The company's best estimate is that it could
recover about 395 million of those barrels.
Cuba is the company's highest-priority asset and it's already drilled a
number of wells in Block 9.
"We are continuing to focus our efforts on the potential for early
drilling opportunities in Block 9," CEO Peter Stickland said.
U.S. President Barack Obama issued an executive directive in October
that could open Cuba to a role in institutions like the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which Washington said could provide an
advantage to the Cuban economy. A thaw in relations between the two
former Cold War foes began in 2014.
Melbana said its established position in Cuba gives it a head-start on
tapping the oil potential as diplomatic relations improve.
Source: Cuban oil contract extended for Australian energy company -