US Officials to Inspect Oil-Drilling Rig Bound for Cuban Waters

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones Newswires), Oct. 18, 2011

U.S. officials plan to inspect a drilling rig that Spanish company Repsol is going to use to drill for oil off the coast of Cuba, after industry experts raised concerns about the risks of an oil spill affecting U.S. waters and coastline.

The inspection, to be conducted later this year by the Coast Guard and Interior Department, will raise the profile of Cuba's efforts to
explore for oil in the Gulf of Mexico -- an effort that has already sparked heated debate among Capitol Hill lawmakers and oil industry

Speaking before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the top U.S. offshore drilling safety chief said U.S. officials will board the Repsol drilling rig Scarabeo 9 before it reaches Cuban waters. The rig is currently en route to the country and should arrive before the end of the year.

"We have welcomed the opportunity to gather information on the rig's operation, technology and safety equipment," Michael Bromwich,
director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said in testimony.

Bromwich said Repsol has agreed to follow U.S. regulations while conducting exploratory drilling off Cuba's northern coast.

Copyright (c) 2011 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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