IBD offers a helpful reminder that there is oil off the Florida coast — and some countries actually want to go get it:
As Russian attack submarines patrol our eastern seaboard, Moscow signs a deal to help Castro’s Cuba drill for oil off the Florida coast. In Moscow and Havana, the cry is “Drill, Comrade, Drill!”
Two Russian nuclear attack submarines have taken up positions along our East Coast in recent days, another sign of renewed assertiveness by the former communist giant. The move comes as Moscow inks a deal with the communist relic of Cuba to drill for oil we refuse to go after. . . .
The subs’ appearance may be more symbolic than a real threat. More interesting, perhaps, are the four contracts Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin signed in Havana during his recent visit there.
They allow Russia’s Zarubezhneft oil concern to work with the Cubanpetroleo monopoly to explore and develop the oil riches of the North Cuban Basin off Florida. . . .
Drilling will be done off America’s coast soon enough. But thanks to a treaty signed by President Carter, the new oil and gas resources that will be discovered in the region will be discovered by Russia and Cuba to their economic benefit.
Normally, economic zones extend 200 miles off a country’s coastline. In some cases, conflicts can arise based on resources and geography. In 1977, Carter signed a treaty with Cuba that essentially split the difference and created for the communist country an “exclusive economic zone” extending from the western tip of Cuba north virtually to Key West. Cuba has divided its side of the Florida Straits into 59 parcels and put them up for lease.
Foreign countries, including China and India, had acquired the rights to develop 16 of them.
“This is the irony of ironies,” complained Charles Drevna, executive vice president of the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association. “We have chosen to lock up our resources and stand by to be spectators while these two come in and benefit from things right in our own backyard.”