Brazil inks deal to hunt for, produce oil in Cuba

HAVANA (AP) - Brazil's state-run oil company has signed anexploration deal with Cuba to probe deep water north of the Caribbean island nation.

Officials in Havana say the area could contain 20 billion barrels of crude.

Under the deal, Brazil's oil company (Petroleo Brasileiro SA) would spend seven years on exploration. If the reserves are confirmed, there would be 25 more years producing oil and natural gas.

Brazil's president signed the agreement yesterday with Cuban President Raul Castro.

Cuba has established about 60 offshore plots in the Gulf of Mexico for exploration by international companies.

Castro will travel to Brazil in December, his first official overseas visit since succeeding his older brother Fidel as Cuba's president in February.

Brazil is Cuba's second-largest Latin American trading partner, behind Venezuela.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)