Cuba’s biggest direct foreign investor Sherritt International Corporation is proposing new nickel, cobalt, oil and gasrelated ventures in the country.
Currently the world’s leading laterite nickel producer, the Canadian corporation says its priorities this year are to maintain that status, while also reducing net direct costs at its Moa plant and delivering world-class levels of environmental, health and safety and sustainability standards.
Its president and executive director David Pathe indicated that this year’s objectives also include maximizing opportunities in the energy sector, maintaining liquidity, strengthening its general balance and achieving greater effectivity within the organization.
According to Pathe, Sherritt’s investments in Cuba represent a joint enterprise that produces 33,000 tons of nickel and over 3000 tons of cobalt per year, as well as a one-third investment in an energy enterprise with a 506 megavolt production capacity and an oil enterprise that extracts 15,000 barrels daily.
He also explained that Sherritt is responsible for 15% of the energy available on the Cuban grid via Energas SA, a company made up of a trilateral cooperation between Sherritt and the Cuban energy companies Unión Cuba-Petróleo (Cupet) and Unión Eléctrica.
Sherritt boasts a presence in Cuba since 1991 and recently completed works on a new acid plant in Moa. The corporation hopes to see returns on this investment reflected in its running costs soon. In the future it will focus on improving operations processes in order to deliver a better cost-benefit ratio.
Oil Industry Investment Within the energy sector Sherritt has earmarked capital for investment in Block 10, one of forty-five drilling zones in the northern coastal area between Havana and Matanzas. More broadly Sherritt aims to strengthen the health of its business in this area and develop even more robust strategic relationships with Cuba.
At this point the project is focused on exploratory drilling and analysis in this block as this zone is thought to hold much commercial potential.
In Pathe’s opinion Cuba’s commercial oil, gas and energy entities performed solidly in 2016, both in terms of turnover and the adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization).
Sherritt employs some 2,500 Cuban technicians and workers across its operations on the island, including the shared risk enterprises. He described the staff as very talented.
Pathe told CubaPlus that the organization he directs has been a complete success in Cuba and he is proud of the business and the links that have been built up with the country. He also said he feels very optimistic despite the continuing volatility of the markets and much uncertainty in the world.
“We know it’s hard to predict the direction of oil prices at the moment, but we hold the hope that they will improve,” he added.