Former Senator and Florida Governor Bob Graham returned this week from a trip to Cuba. He met with Cuban officials about the country’s plans for more offshore oil drilling.
Graham said he hopes to keep an open dialogue with Cuban officials.
He said members of the country’s mining ministry plan to work with foreign oil companies in places like Brazil and Angola to restart Cuba’s oil exploration efforts.
In the past, Cuba has unsuccessfully explored for oil, but Graham said officials now believe there is a commercially viable pool of oil between the north coast of Cuba and Key West.
As a member of a presidential commission created after the 2010 BP oil spill, Graham said he’s working with Cuba to make sure the U.S. is proactive in protecting its coastlines from accidents at offshore drilling sites.
“Given where the sites are located, if there were to be an accident the oil would move north and to the east putting the Florida Keys and the east coast of Florida and potentially further north at risk,” he said.
He said so far Cuban officials have been interested in safely exploring for oil. Graham said mining ministry officials read and discussed the commission’s report on best practices for offshore drilling.
He said Cuba’s interest in oil drilling is “serious” and their desire to do it safely is “genuine.”