Repsol comes up dry for Cuba exploration well [UPDATED]

World Oil: Repsol comes up dry for Cuba exploration well

WASHINGTON — Spanish oil firm Repsol has announced that an exploratory well in Cuban waters wasn’t successful and will be capped.

In February, Repsol initiated deep-water exploration drilling about 50 km north of Havana as part of its global exploration operations. Repsol’s drilling efforts represented the beginning of Cuba’s push to develop its offshore oil resources, in part to wean itself off imports from Venezuela.

"The well was dry," said Repsol spokesman Kristian Rix. "Geologists are evaluating how we move forward."

Repsol resumed exploration in the area after it failed to find exploitable oil in 2004. The U.S. Geological Survey has said there could be 5 billion barrels of untapped oil off the Cuban coast.

The Repsol well was much closer to Florida than any other well in the region. U.S. authorities previously inspected Repsol’s Scarabeo 9 drilling rig off the coast of Trinidad and Tobago and said the vessel complied with existing international and U.S. standards.

From OIL AND GAS JOURNAL:

The well went to 4,500 m in 5,600 ft of water. Repsol is operator with 40% interest for a group that also includes Statoil ASA 30% and ONGC Videsh Ltd. 30%. The well is the first of three the group plans to drill on the six contiguous blocks it holds offshore between Havana and Matanzas.

The Scarabeo-9 semisubmersible will move about 100 miles west-southwest to drill an exploratory well for Petronas of Malaysia and Gazprom of Russia. Petronas and Gazprom have 70% and 30% interests, respectively, in the N44, N45, N50, and N51 blocks.

Then the rig is scheduled to move drill a third exploratory well off the western tip of Cuba, where Petroleos de Venezuela SA holds the N54, N54, N59, and N59 blocks (see map, OGJ, Dec. 11, 2000, p. 42).

Repsol drilled the Yamagua-1 wildcat to 3,410 m in 1,660 m of water on Block N27 in 2004 and said it found “the existence of oil generation in the basin as well as an excellent carbonate complex,” but that well was also a dry hole.

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2 Responses to Repsol comes up dry for Cuba exploration well [UPDATED]

  1. GN says:

    Seems odd to hit two dry holes at these depths. It’s been said that the imaging technology that became available back in the 70s and improved throughout the 80s and 90s were cutting down the overhead from such unproductive efforts. Don’t big, pretty well run firms like Repsol and Statoil have access to first-class imaging?

    • Steve Maley says:

      Modern seismic imaging certainly helps, but it cannot eliminate dry hole risk, especially in a lightly-drilled exploratory basin. Once they find out what a field looks like, then they will have an analogy to go by. Until then, they will be working on defining the structural framework, the stratigraphic sequence, etc., all looking for clues as to where to look next.

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