Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cuba steps up fuel production

Cuba steps up fuel production
Posted on Thu, Dec. 27, 2007

(AP) -- Cuba will produce more than 20 million barrels of crude oil and
42.4 billion cubic feet of natural gas this year, enough to meet almost
half the island's fuel needs, state media reported Wednesday.

Vice President Carlos Lage said Cuba's total energy production exceeds
the equivalent of 28 million barrels of oil, an achievement Cuba has not
made since 2003, according to front-page stories in the Communist Party
daily Granma and the youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde.

The stories quoted Lage, who is Cuba's de facto prime minister and leads
the Council of Ministers.

Visiting the oil-producing city of Cárdenas on Tuesday, Lage said those
figures represent 47 percent of the island's fuel needs, and that the
natural gas recovered while extracting crude now provides 15 percent of
electricity used nationwide.

Cuba drilled 32 new wells this year, he said, an exploration effort that
has expanded because of rising world oil prices and a tapering off of
production at existing Cuban wells.

Cuba's Gulf of Mexico waters could contain large quantities of crude,
although earlier explorations have turned up only modest discoveries,
oil analysts say. The communist government has said it will soon begin
exploration within deeper Cuban waters farther off the coast, although
it has not announced a date.

The island produces 75,000 barrels of oil a day, and imports much of the
rest on discounted terms from Venezuela, which has become Cuba's chief
economic benefactor.

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