The U.S. Energy Department estimates there may be around 1 billion barrels of oil reserves off the coast of Cuba. Spanish energy company Repsol, however, last month said it was abandoning efforts despite spending around $100 million on an exploration campaign.
Citing Cuban reports, Bloomberg News states that Malaysian energy company Petronas began drilling off the Cuban coast using the same Scarebeo-9 rig employed by Repsol.
State-owned Petroleos de Venezuela will start an exploration campaign following the effort by Petronas.
Cuba produces half of the oil it needs to meet overall energy demand. It relies on imports that it gets at a subsidized rate from the Venezuelan government for the rest. The country aims to cut the amount of oil it imports from Venezuela through development of offshore reserves.