Friday, September 16, 2011
Drilling off Keys to begin by December
A giant, semi-submersible oil rig en route from Singapore will probably be drilling in the Florida Straits between Key West and Cuba in mid-December. The rig could arrive earlier, but Repsol, the Spanish oil company, wants to wait until after hurricane season ends before it begins drilling.
This latest report on the progress of the Italian-made Scarabeo 9 oil rig comes from Lee Hunt, the chief executive of the International Association of Drilling Contractors, who just returned from a trip to Cuba last week as part of a joint delegation with the environmental group, the Environmental Defense Fund.
Hunt also said that Repsol plans on having one well drilled by the end of the year.
Along with Hunt, the fact-finding delegation included William Reilly, a former Environmental Protection Agency administrator and co-chair of the White House task force investigating the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Richard Sears, former vice president of deepwater drilling for Royal Dutch Shell, and Dan Whittle, a senior attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund.
Their goal was to learn how committed the Cuban government is to operating offshore oil and natural-gas rigs safely and responsibly, and to find out the best way for American companies with oil-spill expertise to work with Cuba, despite a 50-year-old economic embargo by the United States.
“We’re shooting ourselves in the foot by not working together,” Whittle said in an interview this week. “There was a lot of speculation in the past about if Cuba will in fact begin drilling. Well, now we know Cuba is moving forward as quickly as it can.”
Because of the embargo, Repsol would have to rely on companies from the United Kingdom, Norway and Brazil for help if the Scarabeo 9 caused a spill, Whittle said.
SEE MORE AT THE LINK:http://www.keysnet.com/2011/09/16/378472/drilling-off-keys-to-begin-by.html