The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


April 8, 2019 edition– Cuban oil; Colombian oil fields awarded; and Guatemala’s hydro discussed.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala’s hydro power is up for debate; ECLAC is concerned with Nicaragua’s economy; and the IDB is happy with Central America’s economy.


Greater Antilles. Cuba will look for oil production; Total cut the ribbon on a storage facility in Puerto Rico; and US sanctions hit the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.


Lesser Antilles. Bermuda suffered power outages; Trinidad will cut the ribbon on a CNG station; and the IMF trusts Aruba’s slowly recovering economy.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Tullow, Total, and Eco go deep in Guyana’s offshore fields; Colombia awarded fields to Repsol and ExxonMobil; and ROSEN was recognized for inspecting pipelines.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Inter-Energy’s acquisition (English); Guyana’s profit from the energy sector (English); and the Caribbean bunker fuel market (English).



Political Economy


The IMF trusts Aruba’s slowly recovering economy. Aruba’s GDP expanded by 2.3% in 2017, and economic growth is expected to reach 0.7% in 2019 (English). Inflation is expected to fall to 1.7% in 2019.


After caravans, Trump plans to cut Central America off. The US intends to cut more than US$450m in aid to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador (English). President Trump accused the countries of planning or “arranging” migrant caravans to the US.


The IDB is happy with Central America’s economy… The economies in Central America and the Dominican Republic continued to grow in 2018 at different rates (depending on the country). For 2019, growth is forecasted at 4.2% in Central America (English).


…and the ECLAC is concerned with Nicaragua’s. The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) warned that  Nicaragua’s GDP will fall 2% in 2019 (Spanish). In 2018, Nicaragua’s foreign debt increased by US$150.7m (Spanish).


The CDB will make St. Vincent and the Grenadines more climate-resilient. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will finance St. Vincent and the Grenadines with US$13.4m so that Sandy Bay and other North Windward communities can enhance their resilience to climate change impacts (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Colombia awarded fields to Repsol and ExxonMobil. The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) signed contracts with Repsol and ExxonMobil for the exploration and production of two blocks (English). Repsol took a 50% interest as operator in the GUA OFF-1 block and the COL-4 block, which will be shared with ExxonMobil.


Tullow, Total, and Eco go deep in Guyana’s offshore fields. Tullow (with a 60% share), Total (25%), and Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas (15%) will start drilling the Joe Well exploratory well (English). The prospect has a 43.2% chance of success and could contain 150 million barrels of oil equivalent.


Cuba will look for more oil. Cuba plans major investments to find oil reserves in the short term, considering the volatile international landscape (English). Cuba produces 57,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day, covering 60% of the national demand to produce power.


WB will guide Guyana’s oil growth. The World Bank will support Guyana with US$20m to create the regulations and institutions needed to develop its oil and gas sector (English). The International Development Association (IDA) credit will help in the creation of checks and balances.



Oil & Gas Downstream


US Venezuelan sanctions hit the Dominican Republic and Jamaica. Due to US oil sale restrictions, banks avoid transactions with PdV, and this has impacted all financial transactions with the company (English), according to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Finance Ministry placed US$18m of PdV funds in escrow in a local bank, representing PdV’s profits on its stake in Refidomsa.


Trinidad will cut the ribbon on a CNG station. A state-of-the-art CNG station is under construction in Couva, Trinidad, and is expected to be completed in 2019 (English). The construction is developed by NGC CNG, the National Gas Company (NGC), and the National Petroleum Marketing Company Limited.


ROSEN was recognized for inspecting pipelines. OCENSA awarded ROSEN a prize for Transformation and Innovation. The oil transportation company pointed to ROSEN’s innovative approach to the inspection of difficult subsea pipeline (English).


Total cut the ribbon on a storage facility in Puerto Rico. Total Petroleum Puerto Rico Corp. opened two 300,000-barrel fuel storage tanks built in Puerto Rico with an investment of US$50m (English). The goal is to expand storage capacity to six weeks of sales.



Renewables & Electricity


Punta Catalina produces more and more power. The tests of the Punta Catalina Power Plant’s first unit are occurring without incidents, contributing 150MW to the national grid (SENI) (English). The plant has automated protections to leave the system when testing detects that an element must be corrected.


Wigton bets on Jamaica’s sun and wind. Wigton will increase its production by constructing solar energy plants and more wind turbines when the renewable energy tenders are published (English). Wigton is a subsidiary of Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.


Jamaica could achieve its renewables target. The Science, Energy and Technology Minister said Jamaica is in a good position to reach the target of 50% renewable energy by 2030 (English). The goal is to move from fossil fuel dependence to renewable sources, maintaining the Vision 2030 national development plan.


Guatemala’s hydro power is up for debate. Representatives of the hydroelectric project Pojom II defended the project in a public hearing. The company argued the environmental impact study is independent and the original plan was modified to bring power to rural areas (Spanish).


Bermuda suffered power outages. Belco said that load shedding interrupted the power supply for certain customers as several testing processes were developed on the Battery Energy Storage System (English). The testing will continue during the next days and outages could repeat themselves.



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


Dunkley won the PCJ Renewable Energy Scholarship. Arlando Dunkley was awarded the 2019 Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) Renewable Energy Scholarship. Dunkley will be the recipient of a J$2m grant to cover the cost of tuition (English) for the duration of his Master of Science degree in Renewable Energy Engineering.



Quote of the Week


“Love is like the rain. It comes in a drizzle sometimes. Then it starts pouring and if you’re not careful it will drown you.”



– Edwidge Danticat (1969), Haitian-American novelist.


We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or energy scholarships to


Tell your friends and colleagues about the Weekly Brief! They can sign up for a free one-month trial here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]