oil_rig.jpegHAVANA — Two deep-water exploratory wells in the Gulf of Mexico have proved to be busts, the state oil company announced, dealing a blow to the island's dreams of petroleum riches.

An exploratory well sunk by Spanish company Repsol came up dry in May. Repsol later announced that it was opting out of its contract to drill a second well.

More recently, a drilling operation carried out by PC Gulf, a subsidiary of Malaysia's Petronas, and Gazpromneft of Russia, concluded July 31 off the western province of Pinar del Rio, Cuba's state oil company Cubapetroleo said in a statement.

Analysis of the findings revealed an “active petroleum system that could extend to other parts of the four blocs contracted by PC Gulf and Gazpromneft, and even beyond their limits,” read the statement, which was published by Communist Party newspaper Granma.

“Nevertheless, at that point the rocks are very compact and do not have the capacity to deliver significant quantities of petroleum and gas,” the statement continued, “so it cannot be qualified as a commercial discovery.”

Sonangol of Angola has an option to drill next but after that the Scarabeo-9 rig is under contract to drill off Brazil, with no word on when it might again be available to return to Cuban waters.