The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


August 20, 2018 edition–T&T rekindling; Colombia’s pipeline halted; and Jamaica’s LNG plants.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala will restart the dialogue over Sacjá’s hydropower; and the IMF studies the importance of Guatemala’s remittances.


Greater Antilles. Seprod Investing will build two LNG power plants in Jamaica; the Dominican Republic’s Energy and Mines Ministry asked to discuss the electricity pact; and every city in Puerto Rico has now regained power.


Lesser Antilles. BP is rekindling Trinidad and Tobago’s operations; the Bahamas tourist officials were updated on power plans; and Touchstone published its operational and drilling schedule.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Colombia’s Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline was halted by explosions; Crystallex won the right to seize Venezuela’s oil refineries in the US; and Guyana may want to verify ExxonMobil’s figures.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Haiti’s power grid construction (English); BVI’s compensation for oil spill (English); and the Dominican Republic’s power plants (Spanish).



Political Economy


The S&P downgraded Barbados’ rating, while Moody’s maintained it. Standard & Poor’s downgraded Barbados’ global bonds to Default (D) and the local currency rating from CC to Selective Default (SD) (English). Moody’s maintained the Baa3 negative rating and the government welcomed it, saying it reflected the stabilization of the country’s credit profile (English).


The IDB will partner up with Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator on investments. The Inter-American Development Bank will collaborate with the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator to program and implement the additional US$1bn in funds for climate-smart investments across the Caribbean region (English). The Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator is an entrepreneurial engine that catalyzes and fast-tracks priority initiatives.


Venezuela arrested 14 in alleged assassination plot. Venezuela’s top prosecutor said 14 people have been arrested, including two high-ranking military officers (English), accused of participating in what the government considers to be an assassination attempt against President Maduro. The investigation found 34 people involved in the plot.


The IMF studies the impact of Guatemala’s remittances. The IMF argues that policies that improve labor market conditions in Guatemala can help improve the employment of remittance recipients and support Guatemala’s growth. Remittances accounted for more than 11% of Guatemala’s GDP in 2017 (English).


Petro cryptocurrency will become Venezuela’s official currency. To revive Venezuela’s struggling economy, Venezuela will start using its own cryptocurrency for the oil trade, prices, and salaries (English). The petro currency would be a second accounting unit for the country alongside the bolivar.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Guyana’s new exploration well was named Utakwaaka. CGX Energy Incorporated gave the latest exploration well an indigenous name and developed a blessing ceremony by the historic Aleluya Indigenous Group (English). Utakwaaka means the dawn of a new day, a ray of light and a ray of hope.


Touchstone published its operational and drilling schedule. Touchstone drilled the first seven wells of its 10-well program in Trinidad and Tobago (English). Touchstone achieved an average second quarter 2018 crude oil production of 1,717 barrels per day, an increase of 11% from the first quarter of 2018.


BP is rekindling Trinidad and Tobago’s operations. BP is working with Repsol to revive its operations in Trinidad and Tobago through the bpTT JV, which is actively developing 904,000 offshore acres to the east of Trinidad (English). The goal is to boost output from low-pressure wells in the Columbus Basin.


Guyana may want to verify ExxonMobil’s figures. ExxonMobil has been the only source of Guyana’s oil production calculations. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has informed Guyana it has the right and the power to independently verify these figures (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Crystallex won the right to seize Venezuela’s oil refineries in the US. The Canadian gold mining company can now collect the US$1.4bn it lost in a takeover by Hugo Chavez, when its Venezuelan assets were seized (English). The latest order by the US judge could set off a scramble by a long list of creditors.


Caribbean and Central American fuel supply project recognized. The SeaOne Caribbean and Central American fuels supply project for natural gas and natural gas liquid delivery was named the region’s top strategic infrastructure project for 2018 (English). SeaOne plans to build a compressed gas liquid (CGL) production and export terminal in Gulfport.


Colombia’s Caño Limón-Coveñas was halted by explosions. The second most important pipeline in Colombia was halted after suffering a bomb attack in the Saravena municipality (Spanish). Crude production and exportations of the Caño Limón wells have not stopped.


Venezuela will cut fuel subsidies to stop smugglers. Venezuela’s president Maduro announced that subsidized fuel prices will increase to an international price to stop smuggling to Colombia and the Caribbean (English). A fuel price rise in 1989 caused riots in Caracas.



Renewables & Electricity


Seprod Investing will build two LNG power plants in Jamaica. Seprod Limited is investing nearly a billion dollars to construct two energy plants powered by gas. The goal is to reduce the cost of production and improve competitiveness through lower pricing for the Jamaican and overseas markets (English).


Guatemala will restart the dialogue over Sacjá’s hydropower. Guatemala’s Industry Chamber requested the government resume discussions with the Ribaco village to repair the damage caused to the Sacjá hydropower plant (Spanish). The Chamber also requested the power plant restart operations.


The Dominican Republic’s Energy and Mines Ministry asked to discuss the electricity pact. The Energy and Mines Ministry asked the executive power to call on the parties to continue reviewing the pact (Spanish). The goal is to discuss the points of disagreement between the parties involved.


Puerto Rico is all lit up again. Power service has been completely restored in Puerto Rico (Spanish) after it was damaged by Hurricane María almost 11 months ago. Ponce was the last city to be reconnected due to the rough terrain.


The Bahamas tourist officials were updated on power plans. Public works minister Desmond Bannister updated key senior tourism officials and executives about the short-, medium-, and long-term goals to address the cost and reliability of electricity and other important infrastructure improvement plans for The Bahamas (English).



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.


The Central American Energy Transition Roundtable is scheduled for September 20 at the Barceló San José Hotel, in Costa Rica.


The CARILEC Renewable Energy Community & Smart Grid Conference will be held September 23-27 at the Hilton Miami Downtown.



Lateral Thinking


The US Commerce Department funds Puerto Rico Science Trust. The US Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded US$4.9m in grants to companies in Puerto Rico (English). The goal is to foster innovation investing in economically-distressed communities to create jobs and growth.



Quote of the Week


“The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose.”



– Myles Munroe (1954-2014), Bahamian evangelist.



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