China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) secured a US$6 billion deal to expand a Cuban oil refinery, the Financial Times reported. Capacity at the refinery will be expanded from its current production level of 65,000 barrels a day to 150,000 barrels a day. The plant is jointly owned by Cuba’s Cubapetroleo and Venezuela’s Petroleos de Venezuela. The project will be financed mostly by Chinese banks and backed by guarantees from Venezuelan oil revenues. Construction should begin next year; some equipment has already arrived. The US estimates Cuba to have around 5 billion barrels of oil offshore. Cuban officials claim the figure to be nearer 20 billion. Indian, Malaysian, Spanish and Russian oil firms have plans to begin drilling in Cuban waters next year, but US firms are barred from participating due to the country’s embargo.
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