Wikipedia : Directional drilling
Stealing oilIn 1990 Iraq accused Kuwait of stealing Iraq's oil through slant drilling. Such claims are doubted to have been serious enough to justify war or the occupation of Kuwait, since the limits of directional drilling (at the time) made it unlikely that any such well could have been drilled much more than a mile from the surface location. Even doing so would have involved drilling sites close to the border and the use of sophisticated and easily identifiable equipment and personnel for extreme distances.
What about in the Gulf of Mexico?
Some, mainly on the right, believe China is currently drilling for oil off the Cuban coast and could use slant drilling to steal oil from U.S. territory.
June 11, 2008 story
But 1,200 miles north of Key West, Democrats in Washington are blocking the United States from conducting its own environmentally-safe oil and gas exploration in similar U.S. coastal areas, said a news release from House Republican leader John Boehner's office.
"By prohibiting the United States from taking part in the same type of energy exploration that the Chinese are conducting just miles off our shores, the Democratic Majority on Capitol Hill continues to prove itself complicit in an energy crisis that has saddled American families and small businesses with gas prices that have reached $4.05 per gallon today," the news release said."Do congressional Democrats actually believe China has more ingenuity and more concern for the environment than the United States?" Republicans asked.
In that same news source :
June 12, 2008 Ohio Daily Blog posting :
We all know Schmidt's history of playing fast and loose with the truth -- for example, lying about meeting Tom Noe, lying on her resume, claiming endorsements she didn't have, and plagiarizing an op-ed piece from a colleague's letter to constituents. Recently Schmidt sent out a fund-raising letter falsely asserting that Dr. Victoria Wulsin "participated in grotesque medical experiments," although her press person later tried to lie away the lie by saying that she "wasn't suggesting Wulsin participated in the experiments."
Here comes another big one. On June 5th, the truth-challenged Schmidt took her misspeaking skills to the floor of the House, denouncing federal limitations on drilling for oil by declaring that China is currently drilling off the Florida coast (video here, about 1:52 in):
The only problem with Schmidt's unequivocal assertion is that -- you guessed it --- it is false. As the McClatchy News Service reported yesterday:
China's Sinopec oil company does have an agreement with the Cuban government, but it's to develop resources west of Havana, Pinon said. The Chinese have done some seismic testing, he said, but no drilling, and nothing offshore.Western diplomats in Havana tell McClatchy that to the best of their knowledge, there is no Chinese drilling in or around Cuba.
More from the June 11, 2008 news story titled GOP claim about Chinese oil drilling off Cuba is untrue
The office of House Minority Leader John Boehner defended the GOP drilling claims. "A 2006 New York Times story highlights lease agreements negotiated between Cuba and China and the fact that China was planning to drill in the Florida Strait off the coast of Cuba," said spokesman Michael Steel.
The China-Cuba connection also appeared in an editorial Monday in Investor's Business Daily, which wrote that "the U.S. Congress has voted consistently to keep 85 percent of America's offshore oil and gas off-limits, while China and Cuba drill 60 miles from Key West, Fla."
And on Tuesday, Rep. George Radanovich, R-Calif., wrote in the Modesto Bee that "China, thanks to a lease issued by Cuba, is drilling for oil just 50 miles off Florida's coast."
Yet no one can prove that the Chinese are drilling anywhere off Cuba's shoreline. The China-Cuba connection is "akin to urban legend," said Sen. Mel Martinez, a Republican from Florida who opposes drilling off the coast of his state but who backs exploration in ANWR. [ NIMBY ]
Cuba's state oil company, Cupet, has issued exploration contracts to companies from India, Canada, Spain, Malaysia and Norway, according to diplomats.
But many oil companies from those countries have expressed reservations about how to turn potential crude oil into product. Cuba doesn't have the refinery capacity, and the Cuban embargo prohibits the oil from coming to U.S. refineries, Pinon said.The most recent high-profile contract with Cuba went to Brazil's state oil company, Petrobras.
A comment posted to the above news story :
June 2, 2008 Glenn Beck radio show :
May 21, American Free Press story by Mike Blair titled China Starts Oil Drilling off Florida
There are new reports out circulating that Chinese firms are planning to slant drill off the Cuban coast near the Florida Straits, tapping into U.S. oil reserves that are estimated at 4.6 billion to 9.3 billion barrels. This compares with 4 billion to 10 billion barrels believed to be beneath the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, where drilling is held up in Congress due to the objections of environmental groups which warn of endangering caribou. Permission to drill in the refuge, which experts are certain will not present any environmental hazard, has failed by just two votes in the Senate.
As Chinese business increases its reach around the world, it is seeking oil, which it lacks domestically. China is eager to tap into oil reserves in the Florida Straits and then make a deal with Castro to control it.The Chinese have already reopened an abandoned Russian oil refinery in Cuba. Much of the gas refined there is believed to be destined for Freeport in the Bahamas, where the Chinese, through front company Hutchison-Whampoa, has developed a massive port facility and airfield. With the refinery reopened and expanded it will also meet the needs of Castro.
June 14, 2008 Tampa Tribune story
Feb 1, 2005 Havana Journal story titled Cuba oil Cubapetroleo signs deal with China oil Sinopec
The deal was reached during an early Sunday meeting attended by Li Lianfu, China's ambassador to Cuba, Cuba's Basic Industry Minister Yadira Garcia and Minister of Government Ricardo Cabrisas, according to the report.
"The contract confirms ascending political and commercial relations between the two countries," it said.In late December, Cuban President Fidel Castro announced the discovery of a crude oil deposit off the coast of Santa Cruz del Norte, east of Havana, containing up to 100 million barrels. Cuba currently produces 75,000 barrels of oil daily, about half of what it needs.
June 12, 2008 Reuters story Cuba oil plans could put hole in U.S. embargo :
The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated the Cuban field holds at least 5 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 10 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
In a few years, Cuba could be producing 525,000 barrels of oil per day, enough to make it energy independent and perhaps even an oil exporter, said former oil company executive Jorge Pinon, now a researcher at the University of Miami. Cuba consumes 145,000 barrels daily, of which 92,000 come from Venezuela.
The government has sold oil concessions to seven companies and has said a consortium of Spanish, Indian and Norwegian companies will drill the first production well in the first half of 2009.
Drilling was supposed to begin this year and has been put off twice due to undisclosed factors that U.S. experts say likely include difficulty getting a rig because global drilling activity is high, the need for more downstream facilities to handle the oil and possible effects of the U.S. embargo.
The Cuban field lies as much as 6 miles below the sea surface, depths at which U.S. production technology is superior, said Cuba oil expert Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
"Cuba and none of the present partners have that (depth) capability without accessing American technology, and therein lies the rub," he said. "U.S. export controls forbid them to transfer that technology to Cuba." Cuba, looking past the United States, has been in talks with Brazil's Petrobras, which has much deepwater expertise, about getting involved.
An odd fact is that Cuba will be drilling 50 miles from the Florida Keys, or more than twice as close as U.S. companies can get due to regulations protecting Florida's coast.
Cuba has said it would welcome U.S. companies to their offshore field and showed its interest by sending Cubapetroleo representatives to a 2006 conference in Mexico City with companies including oil giant Exxon Mobil and top U.S. refiner Valero Corp.The conference became the center of international controversy when the Sheraton Hotel kicked out the Cuban representatives after the Bush administration told the U.S.-based hotel chain it was violating the embargo by having paying Cuban guests.