MEO Australia gets support for Cuban oil program

Company aims to tap in the newly-opening market in communist Cuba.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Feb. 29, 2016 at 6:50 AM
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MELBOURNE, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- MEO Australia Ltd. said it was able to raise more than $1 million to help finance its fledgling exploration program for oil near the coast of Cuba.

Cuba-focused and London-based investor Leni Gas Cuba took a 15.8 percent stake in MEO Australia in exchange for $1.4 million to support an exploration program covering 900 square miles of an oil exploration block near the coast of Cuba.

"We are delighted to welcome Leni Gas Cuba as a cornerstone investor," MEO Australia's CEO Peter Stickland said in a statement.

According to MEO, Cuba produces about 80,000 barrels of oil per day. Estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey last year found there were about 4.6 billion barrels of crude oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the form of undiscovered, technically recoverable, reserves in Cuba. About three quarters of that is said to be located within 50 miles from shore.

MEO said the potential for Cuban oil and gas development was "exceptional." Several of the discoveries made so far near the Cuban coast are within close proximity to one another. Initial analysis so far indicates the company's so-called Block 9 holds promise.

Leni Gas Cuba already holds a 15 percent stake in Petro Australis Ltd., a company based in Perth, Australia, that has a primary focus on oil and gas opportunities in Ciba.

"Leni Gas Cuba's focus on Cuba is strongly aligned with MEO's objective of advancing its Cuban interests, particularly with the exploration program at Block 9," Stickland said.

There was no comment on the deal from Leni Gas Cuba.

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