Cuba, US discuss safe offshore oil extraction

Havana, Oct 21 (IANS) Delegations from Cuba and the US mulled how to ensure safe offshore oil extraction during a two-day symposium.

The forum themed “Safe Seas, Clean Seas”, attended by representatives of oil and service companies, research institutes, universities and regulatory agencies from more than 10 countries, discussed environmental, scientific, technological and legal issues related to oil extraction at the island’s exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

Regulations and technologies for the prevention and response to oil spills, as well as the procedures and technologies to ensure safe offshore oil operations, especially the operations in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, were also touched, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We have several states sharing a common area in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, hence it is imperative for us to use the same standards of protection, monitoring, mitigation and preparedness for possible accidents or oil spills in public waters,” said Raul Ruben Costa, head of the section of Natural Disaster Reduction and Technology of the General Staff of Cuban Civil Defence.

Costa said Cuba has a capacity to deal with a spill up to level two, representing around 200 tons of oil.

He said no country in the world, including the US, can face alone a disaster of level three, which will require international cooperation.

Cuba meets half of its domestic energy needs with domestic oil production and the rest is satisfied by 10,000 oil barrels provided daily by its main political and economic ally Venezuela.

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