State-owned oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, has started exploring for oil in deepwater areas off Cuba, Oil and Mining Minister Rafael Ramirez said.
"It started and when we have the results, we'll tell the country," Ramirez said, without providing further details.
State-owned Cubapetroleo, or CUPET, said in early August that PDVSA would continue drilling in deepwater areas despite the fact that other foreign oil companies hit two dry holes.
Malaysia's PC Gulf and Russia's Gazpromneft found an "active petroleum system" during their turns at operating the Scarabeo 9 rig, making the discovery at a depth of 4,666 meters (15,298 feet) but failing to come up with significant ammounts of gas and petroleum in Cuba's Exclusive Economic Zone in the Gulf of Mexico, CUPET said.
Scarabeo 9 will be turned over "in the next few days" to PDVSA "so it can start drilling the Cabo de San Antonio 1 exploratory well" in the zone, CUPET said.
Spain's Repsol failed to find oil while using the rig in May.
Cuba's Exclusive Economic Zone in the Gulf of Mexico is divided into 59 blocks, of which 22 are under contract to foreign oil companies.
The Cuban government estimates that the zone may hold 20 billion barrels of petroleum, while other estimates range from 5 billion barrels to 9 billion barrels. EFE