MEO AUSTRALIA announced it has executed the Cuba block nine production sharing contract with the national oil company Cuba Petróleo Union (CUPET).

The execution of the block nine production sharing contract is MEO’s first entry into the Cuban oil and gas sector and is the culmination of over three years of negotiations between the company and CUPET.

Executed in Havana, Cuba, the agreement was marked by a ceremony which was attended by dignitaries including CUPET general director Juan Torres Naranjo, and MEO representatives, including MEO chief executive Peter Stickland MEO will immediately commence work on the initial activity of evaluating the existing exploration data in the block and reprocessing selected 2D seismic data.

On completion of evaluating and reprocessing data, MEO will decide whether to proceed with a subsequent 24 month exploration sub-period that includes acquisition of a new 2D seismic data.

MEO said the exploration period of the production sharing contract is split into four sub-periods totalling eight and a half years including withdrawal options at the end of each sub-period.

MEO chief executive Peter Stickland said he sees substantial potential in Cuba and particularly in block nine.

“As an early mover into Cuba, MEO is now one of the few western companies with a footprint in the expanding Cuban hydrocarbon sector,” he said.

The block nine production sharing contract area, according to MEO, is a proven hydrocarbon system with multiple discoveries within close proximity, including the multibillion barrel Varadero oil field.

Block nine covers about 238,000 square kilometres of mostly low lying farmland on the north coast of Cuba and is about 130 kilometres east of Havana.