Petrobras Abandons Cuba Block

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Petrobras, Brazil's state-run oil company, will abandon an exploration block off the coast of Cuba that the company leased in 2008. The company said the block had not shown promising results and that it wants to focus its exploration efforts on Brazil's oil-rich pre-salt fields.

Communist-led Cuba says its coastal areas have 20 billion barrels of oil. The country imports most of its oil from Venezuela, the OPEC member and South America's largest oil producer. Venezuela and Cuba are close political allies. The Petrobras block was just offshore from Cuba's biggest oilfield, east of Havana, according to Reuters.

Petrobras (PBR) was apologetic about its departure from Cuba, but noted it must focus its efforts on developing Brazilian reserves. Spain's Repsol plans to remain active in Cuba. The largest Spanish oil company made a non-commercial oil find in Cuba in 2004.

Statoil (STO), Norway's largest oil company, is partnering with Repsol on a Cuban well. The oil industry is watching the Repsol project closely and if it finds significant reserves, more companies are likely to want to explore in Cuban waters, according to Reuters.