The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Russia/Cuba Seeking Oil in the Gulf of Mexico

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted March 19, 2010

America's "stuck in neutral" energy policy has just received another shot over the bow. This time it comes from Russia, which is one of several countries that are actively seeking oil and natural gas resources in the Western Hemisphere.

A Washington Times editorial discusses Moscow's four contracts with Cuba which will allow Russia to explore for oil in Cuban waters in the Gulf of Mexico. The Times editorial staff writes:

"Russia more sensibly views energy primarily as a strategic resource. Energy is critical to Russia's economy, as fuel and as a source of profit through export. Russia also has used energy as a coercive diplomatic tool, shutting off natural gas piped to Eastern Europe in the middle of winter to make a point about how dependent the countries are that do business with the Russians...From Russia's perspective, this is another way to gain leverage inside what traditionally has been America's sphere of influence."

The Times says Russian oil exploration in the Gulf might not be as "dramatic" as the Cuban Missile Crisis, but it could signal a shift in America's stature abroad.