Bridging the Gulf - Environmental Defense Fund

financial support from the Venezuelan and Chinese national oil companies to .... Latin America and now an energy specialist at the University of Texas at Austin,.
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Bridging the Gulf Finding Common Ground on Environmental and Safety Preparedness for Offshore Oil and Gas in Cuba

Bridging the Gulf Finding Common Ground on Environmental and Safety Preparedness for Offshore Oil and Gas in Cuba

Authors Emily A. Peterson Daniel J. Whittle, J.D. Douglas N. Rader, Ph.D.

Acknowledgments The authors of this report gratefully acknowledge the support of Dr. Jonathan Benjamin-Alvarado (University of Nebraska), Dr. Lee Hunt (International Association of Drilling Contractors), Paul Kelway (International Bird Rescue), Jorge Piñón (University of Texas at Austin), Skip Przelomski (Clean Caribbean & Americas), William K. Reilly (National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling), Richard Sears (National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling), Captain John Slaughter (U.S. Coast Guard), Robert Muse (Washington, DC attorney), and Dr. John W. Tunnell, Jr. (Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University) for providing input on this report. The final report reflects the views of its authors and not necessarily that of those interviewed. This report has been made possible thanks to the generous support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

Environmental Defense Fund Environmental Defense Fund is dedicated to protecting the environmental rights of all people, including the right to clean air, clean water, healthy food and flourishing ecosystems. Guided by science, we work to create practical solutions that win lasting political, economic and social support because they are nonpartisan, cost-effective and fair. Cover photo: Vidar Løkken ©2012 Environmental Defense Fund The complete report is available online at

Table of contents Executive summary


Background on EDF’s involvement in Cuba


Cuba: crown jewel of the Caribbean


High connectivity and shared resources with the United States


Cuba’s energy supply and demand: current and forecasted


Energy relationship with Venezuela


Cuba’s offshore energy sector

Cuba’s offshore energy resources Concessions in Cuba’s EEZ

Risks of a spill in Cuban waters

Projected trajectory of a spill Shared environmental resources at risk Economic assets at risk

Oil spill preparedness and response

International Offshore Drilling Response Plan

Model international agreements on oil spill response

Lessons from the Deepwater Horizon spill

Environmental impacts Economic costs Technical and regulatory capabilities Public communications National Commission findings and recommendations

State of U.S.-Cuba environmental cooperation

Current collaborations Constraints on collaborations

Path forward: policy recommendations

Unilateral actions Bi-lateral engagement Environmental Defense Fund /

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Appendix A: Chronology of key events surrounding offshore energy in Cuba


Appendix B: National and international coordination of oil spill response plans


Appendix C: Organizations involved in U.S.‑Cuba environmental cooperation


Nongovernmental organizations Academic and research centers

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Bridging the Gulf

Executive summary

U.S. policy still does not do enough to lessen the likelihood

Daniel Whittle

of [an oil] spill.

In May 2012, the Spanish oil company Repsol announced it had drilled a dry hole during its deepwater exploration in Cuba. After having spent roughly $150 mi