WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Washington must work to ensure that Cuba doesn't pursue offshore oil work that would hurt the U.S. environment, a lawmaker complained.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chairwoman for the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said she wanted Washington to put economic pressure on the Cuban government to prevent it from exploring its deep waters.
"We need to take responsible precautions to ensure that a disaster like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill does not happen again," she said in a statement. "This must include preventing investments that help the Cuban regime pursue its own wild oil-drilling endeavors so close to U.S. shores."
Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russian gas monopoly Gazprom, announced in November that it signed a deal with Malaysia's state-owned oil and gas company Petronas for exploration and development of four offshore oil concessions in Cuba.
"We need to make sure the pressure stays on to keep these deals from happening so that we can protect our shores from a potential Cuban oil-drilling disaster," Ros-Lehtinen said.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency said most countries in the Caribbean basin are net energy importers, with Cuba ranking 60th in terms of total oil production in 2008.