The December 17, 2014 announcement US President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raul Castro of Cuba of plans to normalise relations between Washington and Havana after more than 50 years caught many by surprise. While this will be a difficult process, Cuban oil needs and rising US shale production could be a factor in driving progress.
- Enlightened self-interest could overcome entrenched political views in both countries to drive progress in the normalisation process.
- Given rising shale output, US oil companies will be keen to export oil products and gas to Caribbean nations.
- US exports to Cuba could potentially begin to weaken bilateral ties between Havana and Caracas over the longer term.