Udall Wants to Give U.S. Companies Power to Drill Offshore Cuba

Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) has introduced legislation that would let U.S. oil and gas companies drill off the coast of Cuba.

The bill, according to Udall's office, would "make an exception to all laws, executive orders and regulations that now prohibit exports to or imports from Cuba or transactions in property in which a Cuban national has an interest."

Udall said oil companies from countries including China and Venezuela have expressed interest in offshore development deals with Cuba. "But our trade embargo continues to prevent American companies from seeking similar opportunities. This does not make sense, and the bill I am introducing today would change that," Udall said in a prepared statement yesterday.

The bill would require U.S. companies engaging in exploration and production agreements with Cuba to adhere to environmental standards that apply to the U.S. outer continental shelf, according to Udall's office.

Several lawmakers in both chambers have expressed interest in allowing U.S companies access to Cuban waters. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the North Cuba Basin's undiscovered resources are 4.6 billion barrels of oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, mostly offshore.

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