Cuba's oil hopes hit by another unsuccessful well
* Third failed well this year
* Scarabeo 9 drilling rig leaving Cuba for West Africa
By Jeff Franks
HAVANA, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Cuba's offshore oil hopes suffered a major blow on Friday with the announcement of another dry hole in its still untapped fields and word that the drilling rig used in the project will soon depart the communist island.
Communist Party newspaper Granma reported that a well drilled off western Cuba by Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA had been plugged because it "did not offer possibilities of commercial exploitation."
It was the third unsuccessful well drilled this year in Cuban waters, where the country says it may have 20 billion barrels of oil and the key to future energy independence.
The U.S. Geological Survey has estimated a more modest 5 billion barrels.
Cuba gets two-thirds of the nearly 150,000 barrels of oil it consumes daily from oil-rich socialist ally Venezuela.
Granma said that because of the "technical experience and valuable geological information obtained," in the failed well, PDVSA planned to "continue its participation in the exploration campaign in Cuban waters." Continued...