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Last Updated: July 2016

Overview


Map of Cuba
Map of Cuba
  • Cuba imports the majority of their energy needs, but offshore oil and gas potential could help mitigate their reliance imports. Cuba has entered into many agreements with various countries to help with exploration and drilling efforts. As a result of the ongoing U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, U.S. companies are unable to own any Cuban oil assets. However, U.S. oil companies are allowed to participate in drilling as well as sending technology and supplies with an executive license. While there is interest in Cuban offshore assets, the combination of low oil prices and technically challenging fields could be stumbling blocks for foreign investment.
  • Cuba is also seeking to diversify its energy supply with renewable sources as the country anticipates economic recovery and development. Cuba's location provides ideal conditions for renewable energy growth within the country.

Petroleum and other liquids

  • As a net oil importer, Cuba produced an estimated 49,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of petroleum and other liquids in 2015 and consumed 172,000 bbl/d. Cuba imports most of its oil supply from Venezuela, which provides crude oil at a heavily subsidized rate under a 2000 energy agreement. According to Brookings Institute, Cuba received more than 100,000 bbl/d of crude oil and oil products from Venezuela in 2011. Because of the Venezuelan economic and political crisis, Venezuela reduced shipments of subsidized crude oil to Cuba from 100,000 bbl/d in 2012 to 55,000 bbl/d in 2014. During the first half of 2016, Cuba received an average of 53,500 bbl/d from Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), the Venezuelan state oil company, which was a 40% decline compared to the level in the first half of 2015.
  • As of January 2016, Cuba had 124 million barrels of proven crude oil reserves, according to Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ).
  • The prospects of finding oil in the deep waters off the northern coast of Cuba attracted many oil and gas companies from around the world. However, as a result of the geological and technological challenges, offshore deepwater exploration activity has so far yielded no results.
  • In 2015, Cuba agreed to production sharing contracts with PDVSA and Angola's Sonangol to drill exploratory wells off the northwestern coast of Cuba, which is to begin by the beginning of 2017.
  • Exploration in Cuba has now shifted onshore, to areas along Cuba's northern coast. Russia's Rosneft and the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) signed agreements in 2014 that would expand production in this area, which contains primarily heavy crudes.
  • International oil company, MEO Australia, drilled wells in 2016 that recovered oil by the Block 9 section in Cuba, which is near the northwest coast.
  • Cuba has four refineries, all of which are owned by Cuba Petroleos, the state-owned oil and gas company. Total crude oil distillation capacity was 134,200 bbl/d in January 2016, according to OGJ.
  • The second largest of the four refineries, Niko Lopes, has a crude oil distillation capacity of 36,400 bbl/d. The Cienfuegos refinery was revived in 2007 because of an agreement between the Cuban state-owned Cubapetroleo (Cupet) and PdVSA. The refinery processes only Venezuelan crude oil and has a capacity of 65,000 bbl/d.
  • Cienfuegos is also undergoing expansion to increase capacity to 150,000 bbl/d.

Natural gas

  • As of January 2016, Cuba has an estimated 2,500 bcf of proven natural gas reserves.
  • According to Cedigaz Cuba produced about 32 bcf of natural gas in 2014.
  • The Energas consortium, which consists of Cuba's state-run electric utility company (UNE), Canada's Sherritt International, and Cupet, uses domestic gas for power generation.

Electricity

  • Oil accounted for about 85% of the electricity generated in Cuba in 2013, according to the International Energy Agency.
  • UNE and Russian state-owned Inter Rao agreed on a power development project that would add 800MW of thermal generation via three 200MW generators in Havana and another 200MW generator in Mariel.
  • In an effort to diversify its energy portfolio, Cuba has set a goal of producing 24% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. To meet this goal, Unión Eléctrica, the state-owned power company, is planning 13 wind projects with a total capacity of 633 MW. In addition, Cuba plans to add 755 MW of biomass-fired capacity, 700 MW of solar capacity, and 56 MW of hydroelectric power.
  • As a result of new economic reform, Cuba's demand for electricity is increasing. However, production has remained stagnant, which is causing occasional blackouts and shortages to occur. The Cuban government has taken measures to reduce the amount of electricity the government consumes, so the private sector can be protected from blackouts or shortages.