Russian-Malaysian JV Fails Offshore Cuba. Better Luck for Venezuelans?

Russian-Malaysian JV Fails Offshore Cuba. Better Luck for Venezuelans

Cuba’s state oil company, Cubapetróleo (Cupet) informed the communist country’s media that Catoche 1X well drilling offshore Cuba has been unsuccessful.

The well drilled by a consortium consisting of Malaysia’s Petronas and Russia’s Gazprom has indeed encountered oil but, according to Reuters, the discovery was made in a geological formation so tightly compacted that oil and gas could not flow through it in commercially viable quantities.

The well drilled by Scarabeo 9, a 6th generation semi-submersible drilling rig, was spudded on May 24. The rig had been under a contract with the Spanish oil major Repsol, who, following the disappointing results of its recent well, decided to scrap plans for further drilling off the Caribbean country’s coast.

Scarabeo 9, capable of operating in water depths of up to 3,600 meters, was built by Singapore’s Keppel specifically for drilling operations in Cuban waters.

Due to the United States trading embargo against Cuba, Repsol had to come up with a rig with almost no U.S. made parts in it, and according to Reuters, the only U.S. manufactured part on the Scarabeo 9 rig is a blowout preventer, a part that malfunctioned and caused the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Following the plugging and abandonment of Catoche 1X, the rig is expected to move to the Cabo de San Antonio 1x well, operated by Venezuela’s PDVSA.

Offshore Energy Today Staff, August 7, 2012