Today, Cuba and the U.S. signed a bilateral agreement to prepare for and respond to oil spills and hazardous substance pollution in the Gulf of Mexico and the Straits of Florida.
Under this agreement, the United States and Cuba will cooperate and coordinate in an effort to prevent, contain, and clean up marine oil and other hazardous pollution in order to minimize adverse effects to public health and safety and the environment.
Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Havana Jeffrey DeLaurentis signed the agreement on behalf of the U.S.. Vice Minister Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila of the Ministry of Transportation signed for Cuba.
After the tragic events surrounding BP’s Deep Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, a small but promising cooperation emerged between Cuba and the U.S. in the area of offshore drilling safety. The Safe Seas — Clean Seas symposium, to be held in Havana from October 18-21 2015, is a continuation of the cooperation that began years ago. While the symposium did not address wider issues of investment in the production side of the equation, the agenda calls for multinational oil spill response protocols, blowout prevention technology and environmental preservation. One of the key symposium partners is CubaPetroleo (CUPET), the national oil company responsible for upstream and downstream operations in Cuba.
The safety cooperation initiative, organized under the United Nations in 2011, resulted in the signing of the Wider Caribbean Region Multilateral Technical Operating Procedures for Offshore Oil Pollution Response between Mexico, the Bahamas, Jamaica, the US and Cuba. The 2014 agreement provides protocols for dealing with an oil spill with an emphasis on time-sensitive approvals for deploying vessels and equipment.
Potential for Development
Former Chevron Corporation executive Silvia Garrigo shared insights on the future of environmental sustainability, renewable energy and what the death of Fidel Castro will mean for business in Cuba with students in FIU’s College of Business’ international business and strategy program.
“I don’t think Cuba is an attractive market for multinational businesses in the fossil fuel industry now,” said Garrigo, former manager of global policy and corporate responsibility at Chevron. “Exploring and producing oil in the Caribbean is not very attractive for a large multinational because the reserves are not big enough to justify a long-term, multi-billion dollar investment.”