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Russia could become a major partner
Russia could become a major partner of Cuba in the oil sector, a spokesman for the Cuban Ministry of Basic Industry said on Wednesday.

Manuel Marrero Faz said a consortium of five Russian companies was studying the possibility of launching oil prospecting at 15 oil blocks in the Gulf of Mexico, without naming the companies.

Cuba's economic zone in the Gulf of Mexico has a total area of 112,000 square kilometers and is divided into 56 blocks. The 21st block is being developed by companies from Spain, Norway, India, Venezuela, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brazil.

"In the near future, we'll start negotiations on this issue," the spokesman said, adding that companies from China and Angola were also displaying interest in oil prospecting.

The ministry's spokesman said that Cuba intends to increase in 2009-2012 the volume of oil extraction in the Gulf of Mexico, with at least eight new oil wells to come into service.

Cuba currently produces about 60,000 barrels of oil per day.

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