Image credits: @DiazCanelB
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News Article

PEMEX Supports Cuban Reconstruction Efforts

By Conal Quinn | Tue, 09/13/2022 - 15:58

PEMEX has offered technical and financial support to Cuba for the reconstruction of an oil storage terminal that was destroyed in an early August fire. The inferno, caused when lightning struck the supertanker port in Matanzas during a tropical storm, killed 14 firefighters, injured a further 130 people and caused untold destruction to Cuba’s already crippled energy sector.

 Cuba depended heavily on the 2.4MMb/d capacity from the Matanzas facility to meet domestic energy demand, which was already reeling from a combination of the more than six-decade-long US embargo against its communist neighbor, economic hardship as a result of the pandemic’s impact on the tourism sector and sky-high fuel costs resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In the immediate aftermath of the blaze, hours-long lines at gas stations have gotten even longer while the government of President Diáz-Canel has been forced to adopt a policy of sporadic, strategic electricity blackouts.

 Despite being the world’s most indebted oil company and subject to a government policy of “Republican austerity,” the recovering Mexican NOC has found room in its coffers to extend a hand in friendship to Cuba. PEMEX took to Twitter to make the announcement, explaining that a team of PEMEX specialists will offer advice and technical support to their Cuban counterparts for the reconstruction project. At the beginning of August, PEMEX executives met with the Cuban Ambassador to Mexico to help coordinate a fire response procedure. A team of 85 military personnel and PEMEX specialists worked with firefighters and experts from Venezuelan NOC PDVSA to quell the fire which raged for five days and saw clouds of black smoke engulf Havana’s iconic Malecón. Cuba had initially appealed for technical assistance from the US given the frequency with which similar oil tanker fires caused by storms occur in states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. Washington, however, provided no official response to the Cuban government’s request.

 This move is the latest in a series of solidarity efforts sponsored by López Obrador. Most notably, the Mexican President chose to boycott the Americas Summit held in the US in June due to a ban on Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. In return, Cuba is set to provide Mexico with almost 600 doctors as part of López Obrador’s attempts to uphold healthcare as a human right for all citizens. The government has claimed that Mexico suffers from a shortage of some 50,000 doctors, a problem exacerbated in rural areas as trained professionals move to cities in search of better-paid jobs. The first 60 Cuban doctors, who are specialists in understaffed areas such as pediatrics, gynecology and anesthesiology, arrived in Nayarit in July. As it stands, 277 total Cuban doctors are working in seven states. Moreover, Mexico’s Deputy Health Minister, Hugo López-Gatell, announced in the past week that Mexico is to be supplied with 9 million doses of the Cuban Abdala vaccine to help immunize 3 million children against COVID-19.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Reuters, Oil and Gas Magazine, Animal Político, CNN, Cuba Debate, Granma
Photo by:   @DiazCanelB
Conal Quinn Conal Quinn Journalist & Industry Analyst