The energy geniuses in Washington including Pres Bush an senators McCain & Barak Hussein Obama and also Bush's predecessor, B. J. Clinton, acted to prevent oil exploration off the Florida coast (among other coastal areas). Instead, China will drill between FL & Cuba. But don't worry, their pollution standards will protect us.
Cuba Plans Offshore Wells Banned in U.S. Waters
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By MICHAEL JANOFSKY
Published: May 9, 2006
WASHINGTON, May 8 — In 1977, the United States and Cuba signed a treaty that evenly divided the Florida Straits to preserve each country's economic rights. They included access to vast underwater oil and gas fields on both sides of the line.
Map: Offshore Drilling Near Cuba
Now, with energy costs soaring, plans are under way to drill this year — but all on the Cuban side.
With only modest energy needs and no ability of its own to drill, Cuba has negotiated lease agreements with China and other energy-hungry countries to extract resources for themselves and for Cuba.
Cuba's drilling plans have been in place for several years, but now that China, India and others are involved and fuel prices are unusually high, a growing number of lawmakers and business leaders in the United States are starting to complain. They argue that the United States' decades-old ban against drilling in coastal waters is driving up domestic energy costs and, in this case, is giving two of America's chief economic competitors access to energy at the United States' expense.
"This is the irony of ironies," Charles T. Drevna, executive vice president of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, said of Cuba's collaboration with China and India. "We have chosen to lock up our resources and stand by to be spectators while these two come in and benefit from things right in our own backyard."
The United States Geological Survey estimates that the energy field on Cuba's side alone may have 4.6 billion barrels of oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That much energy is equivalent to just a few months of the United States' total energy consumption.
The survey does not specify how much of an energy reserve is on the United States' side of the Florida Straits, just north of Cuba. But almost all of the country's Outer Continental Shelf, waters within 200 miles of shorelines, has been off limits to drilling since the early 1980's because of Congressional bans and executive orders.
President Bush, who renewed the 1977 treaty last December for two years, has cited China's growing demand for oil and international efforts to obtain it as prime reasons for high gasoline prices. The latest version of the administration's national security strategy, issued in March, warned that China's leaders were "acting as if they can somehow 'lock up' energy supplies around the world."
To Mr. Drevna and others who are lobbying Congress to end the prohibition, energy exploration in coastal waters represents a strong step toward energy independence and lower prices.
The Interior Department estimates that the Outer Continental Shelf has more than 115 billion barrels of oil and 633 trillion cubic feet of natural gas available for extraction. At current levels of consumption, that would satisfy the nation's oil needs for about 16 years and its natural gas needs for about 25 years.
more at: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/09/wa...n/09drill.html