The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


August 13, 2018 edition–Guyana’s third drillship; Haiti’s power grid; and Montserrat’s geothermal well.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. The OAS will work on a peaceful solution for Nicaragua.


Greater Antilles. Taiwan and Haiti will partner up on a power plant; the Dominican Republic will produce 240MW from renewables; and Prepa may reconsider an offshore gas port.


Lesser Antilles. Montserrat may have a third geothermal well; BMR Energy bought a hurricane-damaged solar plant in USVI; and Barbados’ economy is picking up.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. A third drillship headed towards Guyana; Kosmos gets ready for Suriname’s Pontoenoe-1; and Gran Tierra Energy has high expectations for Colombia’s Acordionero and Costayaco.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the Dominican Republic power plants (Spanish); the World Bank’s loan to Guyana (English); and Shell’s plans for the Bahamas (English).



Political Economy


Barbados’ economy may soon pick up…Barbados’ Central Bank said economic activity is estimated to have contracted by 0.6% up to June, despite a good performance from the tourist sector (English). Tourist arrivals went up by an estimated 3.4%.


… and Cuba’s economy needs hard currency. The Cuban GDP grew 1.1% at the end of the first half of this year (English), when the country suffered a shortage in hard currency. President Miguel Diaz-Canel said external finances remain in a tense situation due to the failure to meet planned revenues.


Guyana’s FDI went through the roof in 2017. Guyana’s Foreign Direct Investments increased from US$58m in 2016 to US$212m in 2017 due to oil discoveries (English). Last year, Guyana’s energy sector received 41% of the total FDI.


Venezuela’s crisis deepened after an alleged assassination attempt. Six people were arrested (English) in connection with the alleged assassination attempt on President Nicolás Maduro. The US will give Colombia US$9m to help Venezuelan migrants (English), while Ecuador declared a state of emergency due to the high volume of Venezuelan migrants crossing the border (English)


The OAS will work on a peaceful solution for Nicaragua. The Organization of American States (OAS) approved the creation of a working group to look for a peaceful resolution to Nicaragua’s situation (English). The members will be designated before August 10.



Oil & Gas Upstream


A third drillship is headed towards Guyana. ExxonMobil added the Noble Tom Madden drillship to the Guyana basin to drill two firm wells and three optional wells (English). This will be Noble Tom Madden’s second rig under contract to ExxonMobil in the Guyana basin (English).


Gran Tierra Energy has high expectations for Acordionero and Costayaco. Gran Tierra Energy announced an expansion of the Acordionero production facility and additional development drilling on track for the second half of 2018 (English). With the expanded 2018 capital program to range from US$305m to US$325m, the goal is to drill additional development wells in Costayaco and Acordionero.


Kosmos gets ready for Suriname’s Pontoenoe-1. Kosmos Energy plans to start drilling the Pontoenoe-1 well mid-month, in block 42 offshore Suriname. This is the first of three prospects identified in the block and the well is “a similar play type to the Turbot and Longtail discoveries” (English).


Rule of law will guide Guyana. The new president of the Caribbean Court of Justice said the rule of law will ensure the benefits of Guyana’s emerging oil and gas sector production will be widespread and sustainable (English). Guyana’s economic progress will increase business confidence and attract investments.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Venezuela sent more crude to the US. Between February and June, Venezuela’s oil exports to the Gulf Coast refineries increased by 43% (English). The exports are confined to Gulf Coast refineries, which are equipped to process heavier grades and have a limited choice of suppliers.


Prepa may reconsider an offshore gas port. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) presented a new fiscal plan that includes the Aguirre Offshore Gasport (AOGP), a project of questionable economic viability (English). The plan includes expanding gas supply at Costa Sur AOGP and other natural gas supply opportunities.


Venezuela avoids asset seizures with sea transfers. In order to avoid ConocoPhillips seizing its assets, PDVSA has transferred oil between tankers at sea and loaded vessels in Cuba (English). PDVSA is still fulfilling less than 60% of its obligations to supply customers (English).


BVI won compensation for a 2006 oil spill. The British Virgin Islands (BVI) government was awarded US$221,935 for clean-up costs after the oil spill that occurred in 2006 in BVI waters (English). The spill was the result of an accident that occurred on October 15, 2006, involving the MV Vagabond.



Renewables & Electricity


Taiwan and Haiti will partner on a power grid. Taiwan and Haiti will sign an agreement by the end of 2018 to build a power grid in Port-au-Prince to help Haiti’s energy supply deficiencies (English). The project will cost US$146.98m and is one of the initiatives discussed for the cooperation.


The Dominican Republic will produce 240MW from renewables. The Dominican Republic’s power companies (ADIE) announced the entry of 240.3MW of electricity in the coming months (English), thanks to new renewable energy projects (Spanish). In 2017, the country only used 16.7% of renewables in the power sector (Spanish) and mainly relied on natural gas and liquid fuels (English).


Oil and gas industry influence may change Prepa’s mind on renewables. There are concerns that the donations from the oil and gas industry to US Congress members could impact the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority’s plans to use more renewables (English).


Montserrat may have a third geothermal well. The UK Department for International Development and Iceland Drilling Company are negotiating a third well for the geothermal project on Montserrat, Caribbean (English). The initial drilling contract was signed in April 2016, and the negotiation of the third well was stopped after it faced challenges.


BMR Energy bought a hurricane-damaged solar plant in USVI. BMR Energy announced the acquisition of a 4MW solar plant from NRG Energy in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands (English) that was damaged during Hurricane Maria in September 2017. The St. Croix project has been operating at less than 45% capacity for almost a year.



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


Sea worms shine bright in Bermudas’ waters. Bermuda fireworms are small sea dwellers that live in the Caribbean waters; 22 minutes after sunset on the third night after a full late-summer moon, they display bioluminescence (English). Female worms come up swimming in tight circles looking like stars in the sky.



Quote of the Week


“For the only great men among the unfree and the oppressed are those who struggle to destroy the oppressor.”



– Walter Rodney (1942-1980), Guyanese historian, political activist, and academic.



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