The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


July 30, 2018 edition–Colombia’s new rounds; Puerto Rico’s mini-grids; and PDVSA’s substitute in Curacao.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. The IDB and El Salvador will finance small and medium enterprises; a contract to operate Guatemala’s pipeline is up for grabs; and El Salvador’s Bósforo is open for business.


Greater Antilles. Sherritt restarts work in Cuba’s Block 10; DEG will finance the Dominican Republic’s biggest solar farm; and the Dominican Republic will have 13 new power plants.


Lesser Antilles. Trinidad and Tobago will drill for natural gas; Shell’s plans will cut fuel prices in the Bahamas; and Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister and BHP discussed future plans.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Colombia offered a new oil round; and the World Bank awarded Guyana a US$35m loan to support the country’s finance sector.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Siemens’ designs for Puerto Rico’s grids (English); Cuba’s new reforms (English); and ExxonMobil’s estimates in Guyana (English).



Political Economy


The IDB backs El Salvador’s energy efficiency. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will offer a US$20m loan to expand El Salvador’s capacity for financing small and medium enterprises (English). The funds come from the Green Climate Fund and will be executed by the Development Bank of El Salvador (Spanish).


The IMF asked Central America to reduce its debt. The International Monetary Fund said US growth and higher remittances associated with the uncertain US migration policies continue to affect growth performance in Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic in 2018 (English) (Spanish).


Fitch has a sad forecast for Nicaragua. Fitch expects an increase in unemployment and slower growth. Fitch forecasts public debt in Nicaragua will continue to increase over the next nine years (Spanish).


The World Bank will help Guyana’s finance sector. The World Bank awarded Guyana a loan amounting to US$35m to support the country’s finance sector (English). The financing is based on the actions that Guyana has already undertaken regarding financial and fiscal stability.


Jamaica’s Energy Minister left office. The scandal surrounding the Petrojam refinery caused Andrew Wheatley to resign as minister (English). The opposition welcomed his removal from the Cabinet, but has stated the resignation would not be the end of the matter.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Petrotrin is reorganizing itself. The board of Petrotrin plans to restructure the state-owned company to make it more competitive (English). The union suggests four subsets with a division head to oversee each area of operations: land exploration, marine exploration, refining and marketing, and the hospital.


Colombia offered a new oil round. The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) published the reference terms and the call to participate in the new round. The agency did not publish the areas that will be available for bidding (Spanish).


Trinidad and Tobago will drill for natural gas. The government of Trinidad and Tobago promised the natural gas shortages will end by 2021 thanks to production improvements from upstream energy companies and Venezuela’s Dragon Field (English). Gas-focused drilling increased in Latin America in June, with Trinidad and Tobago adding one rig (English).


T&T Prime Minister and BHP discussed future plans. BHP Billiton officials met with Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley to discuss plans to continue investing in the country and to provide an update on their recent drilling program (English).


Sherritt goes back to work in Cuba’s Block 10. Sherritt continued drilling the second exploration well on Block 10 in Cuba, after stopping work in 2017 (English). Sherritt is using “additional technology designed for drilling wells in lost circulation zones.”



Oil & Gas Downstream


Nicaragua’s crisis will hit fuel demand. The political crisis affected hydrocarbon consumption just when demand was improving its pace of growth (Spanish). Until April, Nicaragua had consumed a million barrels of gasoline, 4.7% more than the same period in 2017.


The contract to operate Guatemala’s pipeline is up for grabs. The board found problems in Perenco’s offer to operate Guatemala’s pipeline. Perenco offered information about operations in other countries, not Guatemala, and did not establish the contract period. The Energy and Mines Ministry will offer a new bidding in the next months (Spanish).


Shell’s plans will cut fuel prices in the Bahamas. Shell plans to develop a bunkering facility at Clifton Pier that would supply cruises and other vessels converted to LNG. The revenue from the facility will drop Shell’s costs for LNG shipping (English), a benefit that Bahamians will enjoy with lower fuel prices.



Renewables & Electricity


El Salvador’s drought hit hydropower… The drought has forced a 60% cut in hydropower generation to guarantee water availability during the next dry season (Spanish). The four plants of the state Hydropower Executive Commission of the Lempa River are located along the named river.


…and the Dominican Republic will count on 13 new power plants. A megaproject that includes the construction of 12 micro-hydropower centrals in six provinces (Spanish) was approved, benefiting more than 1,400 families. The CDEEE pledged the first mineral coal plant will open by the end of 2018 (Spanish).


DEG will back a solar farm in the Dominican Republic. The German institution has a long-term loan of US$62m to finance the biggest solar farm in the Caribbean, a 116MW plant in the Dominican Republic (Spanish). The project will be completed in the summer of 2019.


El Salvador’s Bósforo is open for business. AES El Salvador and the Corporación Multi Inversiones announced the second solar plant of the Bósforo project is open. The project received an investment of US$16m (Spanish).


Renewables were affected by Nicaragua’s crisis. After Nicaragua’s crisis, the power sector goals have been impacted: several renewable energy projects have been cancelled, generation and demand have become stagnant, and exports are non-existent (Spanish).



Old School Social


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


The Latin American and the Caribbean Climate Week will be held August 20-23 at the Radisson Victoria Plaza Hotel in Montevideo, Uruguay.



Lateral Thinking


Darwin’s finches came from the Caribbean. The Galápagos finches are one of the most well-known examples of evolution and were suspected to be closely related to Caribbean species of Saint Lucia. The Caribbean origin has been corroborated recently with the majority of species most closely related to the Galápagos finches found in the Caribbean (English).



Quote of the Week


“Que hermoso abandonarse

a los besos que la tierra

con sus labios hinchados

le regala a los pies.”


“How beautiful it is to abandon yourself

To the kisses that the Earth

With its swelled lips

Gifts your feet.”



-Blanca Castellón (1958), Nicaraguan poet.



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