Cuba and Russia signed an agreement Monday, Nov. 2, 2009, to allow Russian state oil company Zarubezhneft to explore for and produce oil in Cuba in their first post-Soviet oil pact.
“The contracts that were signed are tremendously important for Russia and Cuba, since they will guarantee cooperation over the next 25 years,” said Nikolai Brunich, a Zarubezhneft official after inking the deal with the head of Cuba’s state oil company Cubapetroleo (CUPET), Fidel Rivero.
Cuba currently receives most of its imported oil from Venezuela, in large part, in exchange for Cuban participation in Venezuela’s universal health care system, in which thousands of Cuban doctors are employed and Cuban-manufactured medical supplies and equipment are widely used. Cuba consumes 145,000 barrels of oil daily, about 68,000 barrels per day are produced in Cuba. State-owned Cuban oil companies produce most of the 68,000 barrels of domestic oil. But at least seven foreign companies – from Spain, India, Norway, Malaysia, Vietnam, Venezuela and Brazil – are currently working in the main oil producing and exploration zone off the north coast of Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico. The company from Russia will soon become the eighth.
The US government, following a mean, imperialist policy of generating poverty within political foes, tries to sabotage Cuban oil production, largely by prohibiting non-US oil companies from using any foreign-manufactured equipment in Cuba if the equipment contains US-made components or foreign-made components based on US patents or licenses. Of course, US oil companies are directly subject to the blockade of Cuba.