The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean

December 4, 2017 edition- Puerto Rico’s power storage; Venezuela controls oil contracts; and Guatemala’s energy plan.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala launched an energy plan to help the environment; El Salvador signed a trade agreement with South Korea; and Panama suffered higher gasoline prices.


Greater Antilles. Jamaica will have a new energy project and Puerto Rico will enjoy six Tesla energy storage systems.


Lesser Antilles. Guadeloupe and Martinique look to the mainland for trade opportunities.


Northern South America. ExxonMobil will help Guyana sue Venezuela; EBS increased its LP gas storage capacity; and Venezuela took over oil contracts.



Political Economy


Jamaica made strong friends during the week… Jamaica signed a commercial agreement with South Africa to collaborate on research and development (English). Jamaica and the Dominican Republic will collaborate on tourism, trade, and cultural activities to benefit both countries (English).


…and Guadeloupe and Martinique have Guyana in sight. A trade mission from Guadeloupe and Martinique is visiting Guyana to explore trade opportunities to help their economies, which were impacted by the hurricane (English). The goods they need include fish, coconuts, sugar, rice, fresh vegetables, and fruits.


Colombia and the IDB bet on sustainability. Colombia will use a US$100 million Inter-American Development Bank loan to promote an environmental and sustainability project in 170 municipalities affected by the recent conflict (English). The project will improve the rural population’s income and technical capacities.


El Salvador signed a trade agreement with South Korea. El Salvador signed a free trade agreement with South Korea freeing sugar export duties (Spanish). Five Central American countries will join the agreement that includes exports of farm products, plastic, iron, and steel.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Maduro tightened his grip on PDVSA. President Nicolas Maduro gained more power over the OPEC member’s oil contracts after purging 65 PDVSA executives (English). PDVSA’s new boss announced that Maduro will review oil service contracts and executive positions.


ExxonMobil will help Guyana sue Venezuela. ExxonMobil will cover the US$15m in legal fees for Guyana to fight Venezuela in their territorial dispute (English). Guyana officials clarified that ExxonMobil will assist with preparing the case that will be sent to the International Court of Justice in a month.


Experts think Guyana’s oil money should be invested in green projects. Top local and regional officials asserted that Guyana’s oil revenue should finance renewable energy development (English). Experts suggest that both public and private financing is needed to fight climate change in the region.



Oil & Gas Downstream


El Salvador’s gasoline prices went through the roof… OPEC’s decision to extend oil production cuts pushed gasoline prices up in El Salvador (Spanish). Regular gasoline prices increased by US$0.06, while diesel costs US$0.07 more.


…and Panama suffered the same fate. Gasoline prices increased to US$0.78 per liter while diesel prices rose to US$0.70 per liter (Spanish). The National Energy Ministry announced these prices will stay until December 22.


Is the natural gas market expanding in the Caribbean? International gas liquefaction capacity has grown and technological advancements are reducing costs in small-scale LNG shipping and regasification. A market development strategy should include low-cost supply sources, LNG contract negotiation, and the development of seaborne compressed natural gas (English).


EBS increased its LP gas storage capacity. Suriname imports about 25,000 metric tons of LPG per year. EBS has decided to add three cylindrical tanks to increase storage capacity by up to 800 metric tons (Dutch). The estimated US$5.2m investment secures sufficient storage to meet LPG demand for the next 10 years.



Renewables & Electricity


Jamaica is happy about a new energy project. Jamaica welcomed the partnership between New Fortress Energy and Jamalco, a US$1bn investment (English). The project will include a floating storage and regasification terminal in the Portland Bight Protected Area and a gas pipeline from the Rocky Point port to the Jamalco refinery.


NH got Suriname a new energy supply system… The Minister of Natural Resources wants the new provider to guarantee the generators and sufficient personnel to run them 12 hours a day, at least (Dutch). Solar poles will be installed in some areas, with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank.


…and Suriname debated energy efficiency codes. The Regional Project Team for the development of the Regional Energy Efficiency Building Code (REEBC) met to establish a framework to improve energy efficient services in buildings (English). The goal was to draft a final document for the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) to approve.


Puerto Rico will enjoy six Tesla energy storage systems. The governor of Puerto Rico announced the development of six projects which combine solar energy and storage systems for the Vieques and Culebra municipalities (English). The systems will be installed at sewage treatment plants, a water pumping station, and community facilities.


Guatemala launched an energy plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Guatemala published a plan to cut greenhouse gases by 29.2% by 2032 (Spanish). The plan will save energy by deploying efficient technologies and using natural resources in a sustainable manner.



Old School Social


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


The 2nd Caribbean Infrastructure Forum is December 11-12 at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa, Montego Bay, Jamaica.


The Trinidad and Tobago Energy Conference is January 22-24 at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, Trinidad.


The Platts 18th Annual Caribbean Energy Conference is January 25-26 at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar, Nassau, in The Bahamas. This conference provides an excellent venue to learn what is happening in energy around the Caribbean, and to discuss key opportunities and challenges with industry leaders and colleagues.



Lateral Thinking


Scientists tracked sharks like forensic surgeons. Marine ecologists used traces of shark DNA from the sea to monitor their populations without chasing and hooking them (English). The team of scientists from six countries took samples of water from the Caribbean and the Pacific Coral Sea, which contained the animals’ skin, excretions, and blood.



Quote of the Week


“If a man is not faithful to his own individuality, he cannot be loyal to anything.”


-Claude McKay (1889-1948), a Jamaican writer and poet.



We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or new ways to track sharks to


Tell your friends and colleagues about the Weekly Brief! They can sign up for a free one-month trial  here.