HAVANA, Cuba (South Sentinel) — The offshore drilling rig Scarabeo 9 has arrived in Cuban waters to kick off operations 22 miles off the island’s coast.
The rig is to be operated by the Spain-based Repsol YPF oil company, which plans to take the drilling unit to northwestern Cuban waters, some 70 miles from the Florida Keys, which has raised concern in the United States about a possible oil spill.
But in order to relieve such concerns, Repsol invited US inspectors to check the rig before it arrived in Cuban waters and the company committed itself to meet all established drilling requirements, although the operations will take place in the Exclusive Cuban Economic Zone in the Gulf of Mexico.
A recent article published in the Houston Chronicle said that “officials with the Interior Department‘s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the US Coast Guard inspected the Scarabeo 9, a mobile offshore-drilling unit that privately owned Spanish company Repsol plans to use as close as 50 miles to Florida’s coast. While aboard, officials reviewed details about the vessel’s construction, drilling equipment and safety systems, the environmental enforcement bureau said.”
The inspection concluded on Monday off the coasts of Trinidad, in what was considered to be an unusual agreement with Caribbean countries aimed at mitigating concerns of a possible oil spill that could contaminate US coasts.
Republished with permission of the South Sentinel