The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


April 16, 2018 edition–Trelec’s six power substations; two LNG giants are after BPL contract; and Exxon’s deal criticized.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala’s Trelec will bet on six power substations; Costa Rica should bet on solar power; and Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala will auction 77MW.


Greater Antilles. New Fortress will build and operate a plant for Jamalco; and Raul Castro’s successor will probably maintain his legacy.


Lesser Antilles. Bahama MP is happy with Oban Energies; two LNG giants are after a BPL contract; and the T&T government cannot comment on NGC and CNC’s gas price.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. The IMF criticized Exxon’s deal with Guyana; Norway will help improve Colombia’s oil sector; and Venezuela restored air and sea travel with Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the Bahamas’ clean energy (English); Barbados’ oil exploration (English); and Cuba’s oil well drilling (English).



Political Economy


El Salvador wants to join Honduras’ and Guatemala’s customs union. El Salvador will continue negotiating with Honduras and Guatemala to join the customs union that the countries started in June 2017 (Spanish). In the last negotiation round in Honduras, the models for the border posts were approved.


The IICA will help Central America and the Dominican Republic. The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will participate in the Central American Agricultural Council meeting in the Dominican Republic. The goal of IICA is to foster local governance, safety for rural families, environmental sustainability, and the rural production sector development (English).


Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, and Venezuela signed a multi-industry deal. Venezuela restored air and sea travel with Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, resolving a dispute. The deal signed by the four countries focuses on the energy and tourism industries and the economy (English).


What is in Cuba’s future? After twelve years, Miguel Diaz-Canel seems to be President Raul Castro’s successor, emulating him by retaining tight control over the economy and politics (English). Cuba is expected to look for another source of foreign revenue, such as US tourism, considering Venezuela’s crisis.



Oil & Gas Upstream


The IMF criticized Exxon’s deal with Guyana. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Exxon Mobil got a deal from Guyana so favorable that the country should rewrite its tax laws (English). The IMF recommended improving future deals.


T&T natural gas production is up. The Trinidad & Tobago Energy and Energy Industries Ministry confirmed the year-on-year increase in total production was 1% (English), the first increase in average production since 2013. The increase was led by BPTT’s two major capital investment projects coming on-stream.


Crude oil futures at a high due to Middle East tensions and Venezuela’s production. On top of the unrest in the Middle East, production issues in Venezuela and the possibility of US sanctions on Iran propelled prices higher. An economist at OCBC Bank said economic problems in Venezuela left domestic oil production falling (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Two LNG giants are after a BPL contract. Shell Gas North America and New Fortress Energy are the front runners for the Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) generation contract, including the construction of a new LNG-fueled power plant at Clifton Pier (English). BPL’s Board and consultants recommended Shell as the preferred bidder.


Norway will help improve Colombia’s oil sector. Colombia and Norway will strengthen the fishing sector and promote the sustainable development of Colombia’s oil industry, including the response to oil spills (English). Norwegian companies will invest in the country and deepen trade ties.


A Grand Bahama MP is happy with engagement over Oban Energies. Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis is satisfied with the level of engagement over the oil refinery and storage facility of Oban Energies, which will cost B$5.5bn (English). The Prime Minister asked Bahamians to “give the developers a chance.”


T&T government cannot comment on NGC and CNC’s gas price. Energy Minister Franklin Khan said the government cannot provide the final agreed upon price of natural gas between the National Gas Company Limited and the Caribbean Nitrogen Company Limited. The government was asked to be transparent and provide the details (English).



Renewables & Electricity


Guatemala’s Trelec will bet on six power substations. Trelec won the Energy and Mines Ministry’s bidding process and will invest Q120m (Spanish) to build substations and transmission lines. The total cost of the 23 subprojects in the lot is estimated to be Q450.5m.


Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala will auction 77MW. The Empresa Eléctrica de Guatemala will offer an auction for 77MW from May 2018 to April 2019 (Spanish). The auction will take place on April 18 in consecutive auctions to award the contracts to the generation plants offering the lowest prices.


New Fortress will build and operate a power plant for Jamalco. New Fortress plans to construct and operate the 200MW power cogeneration power station (English) at Jamalco’s alumina refinery complex in Halse Hall, Clarendon. The company will hire 425 employees during the construction process.


Costa Rica does not make the most of sun. According to the Costa Rican Association of Solar Energy, Costa Rica fell behind in taking advantage of solar energy, even compared to other Central American countries. Solar power in Costa Rica contributes 0.34% to national power capacity (Spanish), while Guatemala averages 1.8%.


Guatemalan municipalities owe Q2.3m. Since 2009, certain municipalities have paid only part of the power service to INDE and Energuate, amounting to Q23m of debt (Spanish). The cities of Quetzaltenango, Puerto Barrios, Huehuetenango, Jalapa, Guastatoya, and Zacapa owe the most.



Lateral Thinking


Caribbean girls will meet for a hackathon. Over 800 girls from Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines will come together on April 26 to mark the International Telecommunication Union Girls in ICT Day. The goal is to provide students with digital skills to solve social challenges (English).



Quote of the Week


“Padece usted una de las dolencias más normales en el género humano: la necesidad de comunicarse con sus semejantes.”


“You suffer one of the most normal pains in the human species: the need to communicate with your fellow man.”


-Augusto Monterroso (1921-2003), Honduran writer who adopted Guatemalan nationality, famous for writing short stories in Spanish.



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


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