What can we do to keep oil exploration off Cuba's coast from going horribly wrong? The answer at the moment, because of our nation's embargo on Cuba, is "not much."

With Cuba inching closer to deep-water drilling — and South Florida in the cross-hairs if something goes wrong — something's got to give.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the tracts just north of Cuba could yield as much as 6 million barrels of petroleum, which is why the Cuban government is attracting foreign firms to help extract the oil and re-boot its economy.

In 2011, Repsol, the Spanish energy company, began exploratory operations just 60 miles from Florida's coast. A year later, the firm dropped its efforts, and South Florida breathed a sigh of relief.

But recently, with Russian President Vladimir Putin looking on, two Russian oil firms signed agreements with Cuba to explore deepwater deposits in the Gulf Stream, which flows north into the Florida Straits.



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