The Russian government has agreed to help Cuba develop peaceful nuclear technology and oil and gas production. Photo by Alejandro Ernesto/EPA
Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Russia could help Cuba build nuclear power plants and kick-start the country's oil and gas development, Russian state-run media reported.
The two countries have the framework for an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in using nuclear power for peaceful purposes, including for medicine and agriculture, said Sergei Prikhodko, first deputy head of the Russian Government Office.
"As our Cuban colleagues had informed us, they have no plans of creating nuclear power generation industry in the country," Prikhodko said. "If this decision is reviewed, then naturally, Russia will be ready to become Cuba's strategic partner in this direction. At present, we are discussing a wide range of so-called non-energy use of peaceful atom."
Besides Russia, Cuba has diplomatic relations with Venezuela, China, Spain and Canada.
But U.S. sanctions against Cuba have taken a toll on the communist island, especially the oil and transportation industries.
Russian oil product exports have multiplied by 3.7 times in the first half of 2019, year over year, Prikhodko said. In addition to nuclear power, Russia and Cuba are working to develop Cuba's own oil and gas resources.
"The main goal of the program is to reduce the dependency of Cuba from the import of energy resources and increase the country's energy security," Prkhodko said.
Cuba's existing power plants will also be overhauled. Russia's Inter RAO -- Export partnered with Cuba' state electricity company Energoimport to develop a roadmap of a project to overhaul 10 100 megawatt power-generation units at three plants. The contract will be signed in March.