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International Conference in Havana, Cuba!

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Hola, Jamaican Urban Legend here with some news on Cuba, As you things have changed a lot between Cuba and Jamaica and this is one example.

The thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations is raising prospects for new business opportunities for American companies in the island nation, among them energy.

That was evident this past week in Havana, where more than 120 people from the U.S., Cuba and other countries gathered for a cutting-edge conference on offshore oil development.

The Safe Seas Clean Seas Symposium was organized by the Houston consulting firm Hunt Petty LLC to promote cooperation in preventing and responding to spills in Cuban waters as Havana plans to resume drilling next year, following unsuccessful exploration in recent years.

Given that the drilling would occur as close as 50 miles from Floridas coast, doing so safely and with the best equipment is critical to both Cuba and the U.S., even as the decades-old U.S. embargo on trade with Cuba continues to restrict transactions between the two countries.

As Jay Hakes, a former head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration and a speaker at the Havana conference, put it: “If there ever is a spill like the Macondo well, it would get to the U.S. in a couple of days.”

That reference, of course, was to a BP well in the Gulf of Mexico that exploded in 2010, resulting in the biggest oil spill in U.S. history. The incident, along with the U.S. embargo, came up frequently over the course of the two-day meeting.

But the prevailing interest among participants was becoming familiar with each other.

“Its timely in the sense that its the first time its been possible for a U.S. entity to hold a conference in Cuba” since the Obama administration and Cuba began to normalize relations last year, said Lee Hunt, a partner in Hunt Petty LLC and a former president of the International Association of Drilling Contractors.

“Its also the first time that business persons and professionals who are American citizens could travel to Cuba for the purpose of participating in such a meeting. Its groundbreaking in that sense.”

Among those attending the event at a Havana hotel were representatives of the Cuban government and the Cuban oil company, Cupet, as well as U.S. Coast Guard officers and staff from the recently reopened U.S. Embassy in Havana.

Others at the meeting included representatives of U.S. companies with an eye out for eventual business in Cuba, including Cameron, a maker of drilling equipment, and Wild Well Control and Witt OBrien, two businesses that respond to oil emergencies, plus non-U.S. companies already active in Cubas oil sector.

Environmental concerns were represented, too, including the Environmental Defense Fund and the Gulf of Mexico Foundation.

Hunt, who has organized several other smaller, lower-profile meetings between American and Cuban officials in the U.S. and Trinidad, said the two governments interest in the event was significant.

“They were paying attention on both sides,” he said. This could certainly do a lot for Cubans.

Author: Ricardo – Jamaica

source foto: cadenagramonte


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