China Negotiating Oil Deals with Cuba in the Gulf of Mexico

China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) is negotiating agreements with Cuba on one or more exploration blocks offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, said on Wednesday Guillermo Hernandez Perez, director of Cuba’s oil exploration CUPET.

“They need the data and see if what they want, and that depends on the company,” said Hernandez Perez.

U.S. officials have expressed concern about plans for oil drilling on the southern coast of Florida.

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and CNPC President Jiang Jiemen signed agreements this month in Havana during a visit to the island, but the text of the treaties has not been revealed.

China is the second largest trading partner of the government of Raul Castro, it also seeks to negotiate contracts for the expansion of a refinery in the Cuban city of Cienfuegos, and the construction of liquefied gas projects – including a regasification plant – at the refinery .

Sources have said the project could cost $6,000 million dollars, most of which would be provided by China and backed by Venezuela’s oil.

The well drilled in the Gulf of Mexico belonging to Cuba is a hundred miles off the coast of Florida and its proximity has alerted Washington and Miami, in light of the BP oil spill off the Louisiana coast last year.

U.S. oil companies can not work in Cuba because of the commercial and financial embargo the United States applies to the island for half a century.

The participation of China in the areas of oil drilling in Cuba would add a new element to the debate in the United States on the difficult relations with the island.