The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


April 1, 2019 edition– Panamá-Colombia interconnection; Caribbean bunker fuel market up; and Guyana’s safe oil data.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. The US will fund El Salvador’s natural gas plant; Panamá and Colombia will continue their power interconnection; and Central America got multimillion-dollar investments in energy.


Greater Antilles. The Dominican Republic loses hydro power and gains Punta Catalina; Puerto Rico finally okayed the renewable energy legislation; and Inter-Energy got JPPC for J$4bn.


Lesser Antilles. The Bahamas worked on their budget and went all in for renewable energy.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Noble Energy got a piece of Shell’s cake in Colombia; PetroChina awaits a drop in Venezuelan crude imports; and the GTT will send oil and gas data safely.



Political Economy


The IMF visited El Salvador and the Dominican Republic. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is happy with El Salvador’s economic performance, with a recommended adjustment of about 2% of GDP in 2019-2020 (English). The IMF expects the Dominican Republic to grow moderately, to around 5.5% in 2019 (English).


CARICOM set new energy efficiency standards. The Caribbean Community, the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), and the International Code Council, ASHRAE, published new standards for energy-efficient buildings for member countries (English). The standards consider the unique requirements of tropical environments.


Central America got multimillion-dollar investments in energy. In 2018, 39 environmental impact studies were presented to build generation plants, with investments estimated at US$455m (Spanish). Investment in energy projects in Panamá reached US$391m while Guatemala received US$40m.


Caribbean public revenues recovered in 2017. The average tax-to-GDP ratio in Latin America and the Caribbean increased to 22.8% in 2017, 0.2% above the 2016 results (English). The region remained 11.4% below the OECD average.


The Cayman Islands and The Bahamas worked on their budget. The national debt of The Bahamas closed 2018 at B$8.22bn, B$335.3m more than the previous year (English). The Cayman Islands is working on its budget plan for 2020 and 2021 (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


GTT will send oil and gas data safely. The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) has set up an oil and gas unit that will secure the transmission of data through a submarine fiber optic cable for oil companies (English). GTT has no concerns for the movement of oil tankers where the optic fiber cable runs.


Noble Energy got a piece of Shell’s cake in Colombia. Noble Energy Corporation acquired a 40% interest in Shell’s two offshore blocks in Colombia (English). Noble Energy will operate COL-3 and GUA OFF-3 blocks, covering more than 880,000 hectares.


ExxonMobil’s liability coverage is still pending. ExxonMobil and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have yet to resolve the concerns about liability coverage on oil spills and other accidents (English). The EPA has held off on issuing permits and drilling at Yellowtail-1.


Guyana has enjoyed billions from the oil and gas sector. The Guyana Energy Department said the country has obtained GUY$15.6bn from the oil and gas sector (English). The amount does not include the downstream impacts of the industry, such as electrical work, welding, and technical warehousing.



Oil & Gas Downstream


PetroChina awaits a drop in Venezuelan crude imports. PetroChina expects crude imports from Venezuela to fall by 33%, from 15 million mt in 2018 to 10 million mt (English). Although the trading business is operating as usual, the decrease in crude import volumes is due to supply issues in Venezuela.


The Caribbean Islands bunker fuel market got a boost. The Caribbean Islands’ bunker fuel market was valued at US$8,231m in 2016 and is expected to double by 2023 (English). The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) regulation capping sulfur for marine fuels could boost the Caribbean Islands’ bunker fuel market growth.


The Trasandino was attacked for the fifth time in 2019. In Colombia, the Trasandino oil pipeline was bombed in the Nariño province, the fifth attack in this year. The pipeline was not in operation and Ecopetrol is waiting for the military to secure the area (English).


Puerto Rico’s natural gas market may fight the 100% clean energy bill. The approval of the new clean energy bill could compete with plans to expand the use of natural gas as a power source (English). Prepa is pushing for a speedy buildout of natural gas import terminals and pipelines.



Renewables & Electricity


The US will fund El Salvador’s natural gas plant. The US approved funds through OPIC to build a 378MW natural gas plant (Spanish). The project will count on a total investment of US$877m, the country’s highest direct foreign investment in a single project.


Inter-Energy got JPPC for J$4bn. Inter-Energy acquired Jamaica Private Power Company (JPPC), giving the company control over 250MW of capacity (English). The group already has three power plants and three companies in Jamaica.


The Dominican Republic loses hydro power and gains Punta Catalina’s. Droughts cut hydro power production by 73.019GWh in January (English), compared to the same month last year. Punta Catalina increased its supply to the grid, reaching 80MW (English).


Panamá and Colombia will continue their power interconnection plans. Panamá and Colombia will sign an agreement to develop a power interconnection project connecting both countries’ grids (Spanish). The project will be developed by a partnership between Etesa and ISA, and ICP, and the environmental impact study could be presented by September 10, 2020.


Puerto Rico finally okayed the renewable energy legislation. The House of Representatives passed the Energy Public Policy Act, which will have to be enacted by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. Puerto Rico’s goal is to use 100% renewable resources by 2050, and calls for Prepa to activate net-metering (English).


The Bahamas go all in for renewable energy. Ragged Island’s penetration of renewables will be 95% thanks to a solar plant that will belong to Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) (English). A Bahamian solar energy provider backs “grid-interactive” systems as the best option for The Bahamas (English).



Old School Social


Events in the world beyond your screen—go see and be seen!


The 62º Congreso Internacional de Agua Saneamiento, Ambiente y Energías Renovables is scheduled for May 29-31 at the Centro de Convenciones Hotel las Américas in Cartagena, Colombia.



Lateral Thinking


Ancient Caribbean children helped in the kitchen. A study at the University of Florida concluded that the snail and clam shells found at Caribbean archaeological sites may be evidence of children helping with grocery shopping in A.D. 400 (English). In the US Virgin Islands, researchers found thousands of shells at a site.



Quote of the Week


“If you are not yourself, if you surrender your personality, you have nothing left to give the world. You have no pleasure, no use, nothing which will attract and charm me, for by the suppression of your individuality, you lose your distinctive character.”



– Edward Wilmot Blyden (1832-1912), educator, writer, and diplomat born in the West Indies.


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