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U.S. to monitor some of Repsol's Cuba work

Nov. 3, 2011 at 8:13 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Spanish energy company Repsol said it would match U.S. deep-water environmental standards in its exploration for oil off the coast of Cuba.

Repsol said it plans to drill exploration wells in Cuban waters of the Gulf of Mexico before the end of the year.

U.S. Coast Guard Vice Adm. Brian Salerno testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee that Repsol provided assurances it would be responsible with its deep-water plans for Cuba.

"Repsol has indicated to us they have every intention of conforming to U.S. standards," he was quoted as saying.

A group of House lawmakers, all of Cuban descent, criticized U.S. President Barack Obama for not standing against Repsol's plans. They expressed frustration that Washington was turning a blind eye to Repsol's plans to work "with a state sponsor of terrorism."

Michael Bromwich, interim head of the new Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said Washington has limited access to certain aspects of Repsol's drilling program, however.

"There are certain aspects ... that can only be done at the site where the rig will actually be doing its work," he said. "In our judgment, it's a lot better than nothing."

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