The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean

August 7, 2017 edition— Tullow gets a 3d look at Guyana; Loran-Manatee is slow to develop; and a new wind farm in the DR.





Political Economy


The CDB is worried about Barbados’ and Trinidad’s economies. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is concerned over Barbados’ spiraling debt and troubling signs in Trinidad and Tobago’s economy (English). The Director of Economics at the CDB emphasized the “lessons learned” from Jamaica and Grenada.


St Vincent and Trinidad work together on trade. As part of the growing OECS Agri-Export Initiative, St Vincent and the Grenadines signed an agreement with Trinidad and Tobago to export produce worth EC$20,000 (US$7,407.26) per week (English). Agriculture ministers of OECS member states talked to strengthen the regional agricultural agenda.


S&P trusts the Panama Canal. The rating agency Standard & Poors confirmed the credit and long-term debt A- rating for the Panama Canal, reaffirming the agency’s confidence in the Canal’s administration and investments (Spanish). The rating is explained by the Canal’s positive operation and financial results.


Fitch maintains El Salvador’s CCC rating. The rating agency announced that it will maintain the risk rating CCC for El Salvador (Spanish). Fitch is considering an important downgrade of the rating if the government fails to reduce its financing needs (Spanish).


Belize is all about sustainable development and secure finances. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) discussed with Belize’s key government officials plans to strengthen their cooperation to propel the country’s sustainable development (English). Belize’s central bank adopted the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to fight financial crime (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Tullow bets on a 3d seismic survey in Guyana. Tullow Oil together with Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas started a 2,550 km2 seismic survey of the Orinduik Block, offshore Guyana (English). The block is located close to ExxonMobil’s Payara oil discovery.


The US considers sanctioning the Venezuelan oil sector… The Trump administration imposed sanctions on Maduro, freezing his personal assets (English). Many Washington observers are against sanctioning the national oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), to avoid further damaging the country’s main industry.


…and the crisis slowed Loran-Manatee’s development. The Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago teams negotiating a unitization agreement crucial to the field’s development last met in March (English). The Loran-Manatee field contains 10 tcf of gas, with 7.3 tcf on Venezuela and 2.7 tcf on the Trinidad and Tobago side.


BP will begin Trinidad’s Juniper project shortly. The British oil giant will start the Juniper project in Trinidad in the coming weeks (English). BP sailed the US$2bn Juniper platform to the southeast coast of Trinidad in January.


The Caribbean will be transformed by oil and gas. Guyana and Suriname were considered off of the oil and gas industry’ s radar despite Venezuela’s proximity (English). However, they were brought back by ExxonMobil’s last announcement of another major oil field in Guyana and Tullow Oil’s exploratory drilling in Suriname (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


El Salvador suffered higher fuel prices… Regular gasoline and diesel prices are up by 8 and 10 US cents for the second consecutive fortnight in El Salvador (Spanish). The raise is explained by changing global prices.


…and natural gas prices remained flat in the Dominican Republic. The Industry and Commerce Ministry published the new fuel prices with premium gasoline climbing to RD$208.30 per gallon and regular gasoline reaching RD$195.20 per gallon (English). Natural gas remained unchanged at RD$96.05 per gallon.


The world’s first FLNG Barge is finished for Caribbean FLNG. Wison offshore & Marine announced the final delivery for the world’s barge-based floating natural gas liquefaction and storage facility (English). The 500,000t/y project was financially backed by the Bank of China, Deutsche Bank, and the China Export & Credit Corporation.



Renewables & Electricity


Panamá and Santo Domingo, DR suffered power outages… The DR Corporation of State Electrical Companies pointed to constant power interruptions as the reason for the blackouts while the private sector called attention to the lack of generation capacity (Spanish). Panamá needs to finish the third and fourth transmission lines to end the electrical instability (Spanish).


…and the DR will enjoy a 48.3MW wind farm. Poseidón Energía Renovable will build the Los Guzmancito 48.3MW wind farm project in Puerto Plata, at a cost of US$110m (English). The state-owned electric utility (CDEEE) CEO, Rubén Jimenez Bichara, assured that ten projects to produce 440MW have been approved.


The Dominican Republic plans to invest in small hydroelectric plants. The Dominican Republic will build 46 small hydroelectric plants where the national grid is out of reach with a total investment of RD$800m (Spanish). The country has the potential for at least 100 small hydroelectric plants.


Barbados has renewable energy in sight. Barbados is preparing a project to reduce power consumption, fuel imports, and greenhouse gas emissions (English). A project funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the European Union (EU) promotes the use of electric vehicles, and street lights are being replaced by solar powered lights (English).



Lateral Thinking


Coral gardening is in style. Research from the University of Miami showed that current coral restoration efforts are effective, after analyzing more than 1,000 Caribbean staghorn coral colonies from 120 coral genotypes in six distinct geographical regions. Laboratory-raised coral fragments help native coral species repopulate struggling reefs (English).  



Quote of the Week


“Confusion is not a bad thing. It’s not doubt that makes a man mad. It’s certainty.”


-Pauline Melville (1948), Guyanese-born writer and actress



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