The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


April 30, 2018 edition–Dominican solar; GeoPark’s well; and Jamaica 3D.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala and Peru will renegotiate their trade agreement; and Guatemala wants to turn to renewables.


Greater Antilles. Dominican solar project found financing; Cuba promotes solar with new net metering; and Tullow Oil finished 45% of the 3D seismic survey in Jamaica.


Lesser Antilles. Trinidad & Tobago will get a deal on Grenada’s oil and gas discoveries; BPL justified selecting Shell; and Barbados is looking for auditors.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. GeoPark completed the Tigana Norte 9 well; Venezuelan oil production worsened; and Colombia is considering a new LNG facility.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the IMF’s mission in Honduras (English); the World Bank’s funds for Dominica (English); and Grenada’s gas sector (English).



Political Economy


S&P confirms Dominican Republic BB-/B ratings. The international rating firm affirmed BB-/B ratings while the outlook remains stable (English). S&P said structural reform momentum in the Dominican Republic has stalled and expects limited progress during Danilo Medina’s presidency.


Trinidad & Tobago deported Venezuelans. Trinidad and Tobago was criticized for sending Venezuelans seeking asylum back home (English). The National Security Minister and attorney general met with the United Nations resident coordinator and the protection officer of the UNHCR to ensure the voluntary basis of the repatriation exercise (English).


Venezuela and Spain will restore ambassadors. Venezuela and Spain will normalize relations and restore ambassadors after tensions that followed European Union sanctions (English) against the Caribbean nation. Maduro withdrew his ambassador in Madrid after what he perceived as “repeated meddling” in Venezuela’s internal affairs.


Guatemala and Peru will find a happy ending for their trade agreement. Peru and Guatemala will negotiate a path to close their free trade agreement in the following months. Tensions rose over the sugar prices band offered by Peru and discussed within the World Trade Organization framework (Spanish).



Oil & Gas Upstream


GeoPark finished drilling Tigana Norte 9. GeoPark announced the success of the Tigana Norte 9 appraisal well test (English) in Colombia’s Llanos 34 block. GeoPark drilled the Tigana Norte 9 well to a depth of 11,581 feet.


Tullow Oil finished 45% of its Jamaican 3D seismic survey. Tullow Oil reported 45% progress in its oil and gas exploration (English) 3D seismic survey. The most advanced study of Jamaica’s offshore, the survey is the product of a production-sharing agreement between Tullow and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica.


BPL justified picking Shell. Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) defended the selection of Shell as its preferred generation partner, describing it as “transparent and fair” (English). The BPL explained that more than 50% of the proposals offered long-term solutions for 10 years.


Venezuelan oil production goes from bad to worse. Production from Venezuela’s Petrocedeno field, in which Total holds a 30% interest, fell 40% due to the lack of staff, water, and power in the country (English). Halliburton wrote down its remaining investment (English) in Venezuela after taking a charge against first quarter earnings of US$312m net of tax.


Barbados is looking for auditors of the BNOCL and NPC. The Inter-American Development Bank requests consulting services to perform operational audits of the Barbados National Oil Company Limited (BNOCL) and the National Petroleum Corporation (NPC). The goal is to document the current state and make recommendations to increase revenues (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Colombia is considering a new LNG facility. Colombia is tempted to build a Pacific terminal to supply gas for all sectors (English). The country already has one terminal used as a fail-safe for low hydropower supplies and has potentially lots of recoverable shale gas.


Trinidad & Tobago made a move for Grenada’s oil and gas discoveries. Trinidad and Tobago will have the option to buy Grenada’s natural gas before anyone else after NGC signed a commercial agreement with GPG (English). GPG is conducting petroleum and natural gas exploration, development, and production.


Colombia’s Transandino pipeline suffered a bomb attack. The Transandino pipeline in Colombia was shut down after a bomb attack by an illegal armed group. The pipeline spilled crude oil into a river, but the attack has not affected exports or crude production (English).


US LNG is transforming Latin America’s energy sector. The availability of US LNG offered certain energy-poor countries an alternative to fuel oil and diesel from Venezuela to power up thermal power plants (English). In South America, some are opting for natural gas for power generation instead of building controversial dams.



Renewables & Electricity


Dominican solar project found financing, Barbados is not so lucky. General Energy Solutions will obtain financing to develop the Monte Plata Solar farm, the Dominican Republic’s largest solar energy plant (English). Economists warn a better financing model is needed for Barbados’ renewable energy sector, as local commercial banks are risk averse (English).


Cuba promotes solar with new net metering. Cuba signed a new law to increase renewable energy to 24% by 2030 (English). The Unión Eléctrica de Cuba (UNE) will buy all excess power from renewable energy generators under a net metering scheme.


Puerto Rico governor is looking for investors to rebuild the country’s grid. Governor Ricardo Rossello said Puerto Rico requires investment to rebuild the energy grid damaged by Hurricane Maria (English). The challenge would be to attract investors despite the island’s financial troubles and defaulted bonds.


The Greater Caribbean goes green. The Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on Energy agreed on the operationalization of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE) by mid-2018 (English). Guatemala will transform its energy matrix to reduce the effects of climate change (Spanish).


A DR businessman asked for renewable energy incentives to end. The executive director of Atrato Energy demanded an end to renewable energy incentives to compete under the same conditions (Spanish) with other technologies. The director considers renewable energies to be profitable without the incentives.



Lateral Thinking


The Gulf Stream weakness can affect Caribbean weather. A study revealed that the Atlantic Gulf Stream is at its weakest level in 1,600 years due to greenhouse gas emissions (English). The abrupt slowdown in circulation could alter European weather patterns and produce erratic weather events in the Caribbean.



Quote of the Week


“La palabra puede exponer la acción, pero no puede suplantarla. Miles de frases son incapaces de decir tanto como una acción.”


“Words can explain action, but cannot substitute it. Thousands of sentences are not capable of saying as much as an action.”


-Juan Bosch (1909-2001), Dominican historian, writer, and president in 1962.



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