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Chinese Slant Drilling Ninety Miles From Florida Coast

Guest Free America

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Guest Free America
For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill. - Sun Tzu


While Washington dithers over exploiting oil and gas reserves off the coast of Florida, China has seized the opportunity to gobble up these deposits, which run throughout Latin America, the Caribbean and along the U.S. Gulf coast.


China is the second-largest oil consumer after the US. The International Energy Agency, the rich countries' energy watchdog, has forecast that China's demand for oil products will grow by 5.6 per cent this year to 7.96m barrels per day.


Cuba produces around 80,000 bpd of heavy crude at 8 degrees API to 18 degrees API and with a high sulphur content, 60 % in conjunction with Sherritt and Canadian company Pebercan. Various companies have explored for oil in Cuba over the last 15 years with the only new discoveries along the northwest heavy oil belt, an 80 mile (128 km) stretch of coast in Havana and Matanzas provinces. The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated that the North Cuba Basin may contain 4.6 billion barrels of oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.


With little media notice the Chinese forged a deal with Cuba's state-run Cubapetroleo (Cupet) to explore and tap into massive oil reserves almost within sight of Key West, Florida. In 2004 Spanish oil company Repsol-YPF reported that the first deep-water well drilled in Cuba discovered non-commercial quantities of good quality oil. In 2005 President Fidel Castro recently announced the discovery by Sherritt and Pebercan of a new deposit in the area at 18 degrees API, with an estimated 100 mm barrels of oil, and plans to look at two similar nearby deposits. In Nov. 3, 2005 PetroChina Great Wall Drilling Co., Ltd. and Petroleum Company of Cuba held a ceremony for signing two drilling service contracts. These Chinese firms are beginning to slant drill off the Cuban coast near the Florida Straits, tapping into U.S. oil reserves that are estimated at 4.6 billion to 9.3 billion barrels. The irony is that Chinese drilling could be even more of an environmental hazard since China is not as concerned about or equipped to deal with any potential ecological disaster as a result of a spill.


Soon, there could be oil rigs within 50 miles of the Florida Keys and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary," the letter states. "And, as the Gulf Stream flows, an oil spill or other drilling accident would desecrate part of Florida's unique environment and devastate its $50 billion tourism-driven economy. - Sen. Bill Nelson


In May 2006 Chinese oil and gas company Sinopec Corp. signed a joint venture deal to extract oil in Cuba's western Pinar del Rio province, and other companies are considering offshore drilling in Cuba's Gulf of Mexico waters. The Cuban government has granted China to station 12 oil rigs in its waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Fidel Castro's government has stepped up work on 36 new oil wells in partnership with China. The Communist Party newspaper Granma also reported that Cuba had drilled its deepest oil well yet near Varadero, east of Havana.


Can China succeed in bringing America to its knees? Cuba has invited US companies to take part in the drilling operations, but the 44-year old embargo prevents it. Raul Castro is largely seen as a more pragmatic and realistic leader, and Cubans generally believe he is more likely to allow limited openings in the state-controlled economy — although he has not undertaken any major measures yet. The fact that very few people are talking about this is yet another example of how the lack of sensationalism keeps a crucial story off of the mainstream media radar.


On a side note. China has been operating a signal intelligence station in Bejucal, south of Havana since 1999. This facility has numerous satellite communications antennas which could be utilized for the interception of military and civilian communication traffic in the United States. The Chinese also intercept US military satellite communications at a facility located northeast of Santiago de Cuba. China also provided the Cuban government with sophisticated antennas to block Radio Martí signals.


The physical Chinese presence gives China new opportunities to collect intelligence data against U.S. forces operating in the region, which could provide value to China should the current benign nature of the U.S.-China relationship change.

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Guest Deborah Tipping

China's demand for oil and other natural resources only mirrors that of any other growing power, and is still far below that of the US. Why shouldn't Latin America benefit from the growth of China? Historically speaking if Latin America was to fear interference from any external power, it should be the US.

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Guest human_*

With the political atmosphere that the democrats have created? The United States HAS lost influence with in the region "And that's the democrats’ creation". But the original poster is still correct on china "That china is under no obligation if they create huge oil spills, and bush is also correct that we as a country are on an economic , as well resource battles against china".


China's demand for oil and other natural resources only mirrors that of any other growing power, and is still far below that of the US. Why shouldn't Latin America benefit from the growth of China? Historically speaking if Latin America was to fear interference from any external power, it should be the US.
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  • 3 months later...
Guest LAW_*

Looks like Americans are following for this made up story from the Cheney administration like Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

How can people be so stupid.




As Congress has debated energy policy over the past several days, an unusual argument keeps surfacing in support of drilling off the U.S. coastline and in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.


Why, ask some Republicans, should the United States be thwarted from drilling in its own territory when just 50 miles off the Florida coastline the Chinese government is drilling for oil under Cuban leases?


Yet no one can prove that the Chinese are drilling anywhere off Cuba's shoreline. The China-Cuba connection is "akin to urban legend," said Sen. Mel Martinez, a Republican from Florida who opposes drilling off the coast of his state but who backs exploration in ANWR.


"China is not drilling in Cuba's Gulf of Mexico waters, period," said Jorge Pinon, an energy fellow with the Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami and an expert in oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. Martinez cited Pinon's research when he took to the Senate floor Wednesday to set the record straight.


Even so, the Chinese-drilling-in-Cuba legend has gained momentum and has been swept up in Republican arguments to open up more U.S. territory to domestic production.


Vice President Dick Cheney, in a speech Wednesday to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, picked up the refrain. Cheney quoted a column by George Will, who wrote last week that "drilling is under way 60 miles off Florida. The drilling is being done by China, in cooperation with Cuba, which is drilling closer to South Florida than U.S. companies are."


In his speech, Cheney described the Chinese as being "in cooperation with the Cuban government. Even the communists have figured out that a good answer to higher prices means more supply."

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Guest BlingBling_*

Looks like the Washington Post and the Republicans started this myth.




In a previous column, I stated that China, in partnership with Cuba, is drilling for oil 60 miles from the Florida coast. While Cuba has partnered with Chinese companies to drill in the Florida Straits, no Chinese company has been involved in Cuba's oil exploration that close to the United States.



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Guest Funny

Funny how nearly all of the stories about the Chinese or anyone else doing exploratory oil drilling off Cuba’s coast seem quote that little Senate toe tapper himself…Larry Craig. And most of those reports date back to 2006…wait wasn’t that another election year?

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Guest Get Smart

China is drilling there now, not off shore but on land and they already reopened an abandoned Russian oil refinery in Cuba. Much of the gas refined there is believed to be destined for Freeport in the Bahamas, where the Chinese, through front company Hutchison-Whampoa, has developed a massive port facility and airfield. With the refinery reopened and expanded it will also meet the needs of Castro.

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