Analysis

Cuba: Oil Exploration Could Boost Economy But Threaten Florida
Cubans fish offshore Havana with a new Chinese-made oil drilling platform on the horizon, January 19, 2012. (ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)
January 20, 2012
| Security, Energy
| The Americas
Summary
The arrival yesterday of a deep water rig to explore for oil off Cuba’s northern coast raises the prospect of huge revenues that could revive Cuba’s command economy and undermine U.S. sanctions. It may also lead to huge oil spills that could affect the Florida coast.

Cuba’s offshore oil development plans are a consequence of U.S. sanctions that bar American oil companies from exploring for oil in Cuban waters. To get around the sanctions, Havana has engaged non-American firms to build an oil rig using less than 10 percent U.S. technology, which prevents Cuba from using a blow-out protector that might avoid an oil spill similar to the $40 billion BP Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010.

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