By Manuel Cereijo


The downfall of Hugo Chavez will, if it ever come to be realized, in many aspects, adversely affect Castro in Cuba. I want to analyze in this report just one of them: oil.

In 1989, a year taken always as a reference to compare Cuba economically, the oil consumption of Cuba was 13 million tons per year. The electrical energy industry used 40 million barrels/year, or approximately 7 million tons. The generating capacity of the electrical system was 3,500 Mwatts, with an average demand of 2,650 Mwatts.


All the electric energy generation, transmission and distribution in Cuba is controlled by the government, under the "Empresa Electrica Cubana", which is part of the Ministry of Basic Industries". Presently, the system has an installed generating capacity of 3,500 Mw. However, due to several factors that will be explained later in this section, the real generating capacity is only 1,200 Mwatts.

Approximately 95% of these plants use oil as fuel. The industry employs 29,000 persons, of which, 1,100 are engineers, and 4,000 are technicians. The electrical energy demand in Cuba was 2,650 Mw, distributed as follows: 60% for the industrial sector; 8% for the commercial sector; 4% for the agricultural sector; and 25% for domestic usage.

The demand, in 2000, was down to 950 Mw, mainly due to the almost standstill of the industrial sector, as well as a low in the agricultural and domestic usage.

There are 46 units in operation, located in 20 different sites. Only 30% of the units are classified as of high efficiency. According to the type of fuel used, 94% use fuel #6, and 5% use fuel #2. The equipment comes from the United States, Russia, Eslovaquia, Germany, France, Japan, Italy. Transmission voltage is 110Kv and 220Kv. The country is interconnected by a 220Kv network.

The transmission cables are ACSR 150mm. The transmission structures are of concrete, for the 110Kv lines, and metal for the 220Kv. Distribution lines are 4.16Kv, and 13.8Kv, 60Hz. Wires for distribution are of 150mms, 70mms, and 35 mms, ACSR. Almost all distribution is overhead, except some pre 1959 underground in La Habana.

The average service time of the operating units is 25 years. Some of the units have over 50 years in service. The newest units were installed in Matanzas, Cienfuegos, and Felton. The former with Japanese and French technology. The latter from the Eslovaquian Republic.

Cuba consumed 13 million tons of oil in 1989,of which, 40 million barrels, some 7 million tons., were for the generation of electricity. In 2000, Cuba consumed, for all needs, not only to generate electricity, 6.3 million tons. Of these, 1.2 million are domestic oil, not suitable to be used in the generation of electricity because of its high content of sulphur, approximately 10%.

The system has deteriorated tremendously, due to several factors: lack of proper maintenance; use of inappropriate fuel; aging; unsuitable spare parts; lack of system equilibrium; effect of the blackouts. In order for a nation to have an adequate economic development, it must have enough capacity of generating electric energy. In a post Castro, democratic Cuba, this figure can be estimated at 3,900 Mwatts for the first 3 years. This capacity must double in 10 years. In fact, in 5 years of the reconstruction period, the objective must be to have 350 watts per person.


Of the installed electrical energy capacity, Cuba uses, by fuel type:

94% No. 6 fuel oil
4% No. 2 fuel oil

The No. 6 fuel oil are used in 34 operating units. There are 6 simple cycle turbines units fired with No. 2 oil.

Venezuela was providing Castro with approximately 53,000 barrels/day. This represents 37% of the 1989 requirements to generate electricity in Cuba. Also, 17% of the 1989 requirements for all of the country's requirememts.

Cuba has 4 oil refineries: Cabaiguan, Cienfuegos, La Habana, and Santiago de Cuba. , with a "capacity" of 11 millions tons of crude oil/year. The real 2001 capacity is 7 million tons. There are 11 port terminals and 17 oil store warehouses.

The Matanzas terminal, has a capacity for 150,000 tons. They build an oil duct from Matanzas to Cienfuegos, 187 Kms. long, 530mms diameter width.


Oil is vital for Cuba. Domestic production will not increase. In 1990, Cuba imported $1,950 millions in crude and refined oil. In 2000, the amount was $750 millions. A 60% reduction.

The future, depending on Venezuela's destiny, as far as energy resources for Castro's Cuba is DARK.


Manuel Cereijo

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