January 25, 2011 / 10:50 PM / in 7 years

Cuba reports oil and gas output unchanged

* Cuba energy output meets nearly 50 pct domestic demand

* Cuban oil output at 3 million tonnes

* Natural gas unchanged at 1 million cubic meters

HAVANA, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Cuba’s oil and natural gas production last year was similar to 2009 as output continued to stagnate and new wells simply made up for the decline in old ones output, state-run media said on Tuesday.

Citing state monopoly Cubapetroleo, official television said crude production was just over 3 million tonnes and natural gas barely topped 1 million cubic meters.

Energy dependent, Cuba does not report oil production in barrels, but officials state it is between 60,000 and 70,000 barrels per day.

“This amounts to nearly 50 percent of domestic consumption and import savings of $1.4 billion,” the report said.

Venezuela provides the remainder of Cuba’s crude plus it’s share of oil for a joint venture refinery, amounting to a total of 115,000 barrels a day in 2009, the last available figures.

Cuban production is concentrated along the northwest heavy oil belt, an 80-mile (128-km) stretch of coast in Havana and Matanzas provinces which produces all of Cuba’s heavy crude with a density rating of 8 API to 18 API and a high sulfur content.

Most new wells are drilled vertically from the shore from two to seven kilometers out to sea.

Cuba drilled 25 wells in 2010 and plans 20 this year, the report said.

Output has stagnated for nearly a decade as old wells are exhausted and new ones do no more than take up the slack.

The poor-quality oil is burned in modified power plants and factories.

Some domestic oil is also processed at a joint venture refinery with Venezuela in the Cienfuegos province, and then exported to area countries.

Since 2006, Cuba has shipped small amounts of the crude to Asia.

Reporting by Marc Frank; Editing by David Gregorio

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