Sechin Latin America trip opens door for Russian energy producers

Russia will start exploring for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, after signing a deal with Cuba this week. The announcement comes as part of Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin's visit to the region.

Sechin's Latin American tour resulted in new prospects for Russian energy companies. Venezuela was the first stop of the trip. The Deputy Prime Minister talked up the longer term prospects of a joint venture deal the two nations agreed for the oil and gas sector.

"To create an actual basis for work in the oil and gas industry, a memorandum has been signed between Gazprom and Petroleum of Venezuela to form a joint venture for providing services."

Sechin later visited Nicaragua where more agreements were penned, before contracts in Cuba opened the way for Russian companies to explore for oil off its coast.

Denis Borisov, Senior Analyst at Solid-Invest says traditional geopolitical interests in the area are not the only reason for the visit.

“It's an attempt to enhance the effectiveness of oil extraction and compensate for problems that in the last few years have held back Russian companies from entering new regions.”

North America is the traditional and potential customer of oil extracted from this region. The deals signed this week will potentially give Russian companies 5 to 10 years of business in a potentially lucrative market.