The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


December 17, 2018 edition–Guatemala’s new hydro; the DR found gas; and Amerisur found oil in Colombia.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala’s hydroelectric plant Renace is done; Panama’s power supply grew 3%; and Central America will receive investments for energy projects.


Greater Antilles. The Dominican Republic hit natural gas; Jamaica’s Prime Minister will go after Petrojam’s misappropriated funds; and NFEnergía plans to speed up Puerto Rico’s clean energy transition.


Lesser Antilles. Curacao chose a US company to restart a refinery; and the IMF visited the Bahamas and Barbados.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Amerisur found black gold in Colombia; Guyana will receive 75% of Hess’s 2019 budget; and Citgo is in trouble again.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the Dominican Republic’s power shortage (English); a floating power plant (English); and Putin’s support for Venezuela (English).



Editorial Interlude


This week’s edition will be the last for 2018 as our hard-working team takes a well-deserved break with friends and family. We wish you a peaceful and contemplative end of the year, and an invigorating start to the new. Our next edition will be issued on January 7, 2019. See you then!

– The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean team



Political Economy


Venezuela and Russia have tense diplomatic relations with the US. Two Russian jets flew to Venezuela as a gesture of support and returned to Russia following a diplomatic spat over the visit (English). The Trump administration spoke with Russian officials over the bombers and agreed on the departure.


The IMF visited the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Barbados. The International Monetary Fund said the Bahamian economy continues to recover with real GDP growth projected to reach 2.1% in 2019 (English), while Jamaica’s unemployment rate is at an all-time low of 8.4% (English). The IMF recognized Barbados’ efforts to implement its ambitious and comprehensive economic reform program (English).


Nicaragua’s inflation reached 3.24% in November. Inflation reached 3.24% in November, slightly less than 4.51% in the same month in the previous year (Spanish). The increase was explained by higher prices in certain services, food, non-alcoholic beverages, water, power, gas, and other fuels.


Unions and CARICOM discussed the Scotiabank sale. The Caribbean Congress of Labour (CCL) and the CARICOM Competition Commission issued statements regarding Scotiabank’s decision (English). Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister said the government will not give Scotiabank the order it needs unless local banks are offered a chance to take over (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Russia will give Venezuela a hand to boost oil output. Russia will invest US$5bn to increase Venezuela’s oil production by 1 million barrels per day under a new economic agreement (Platts – English). The agreement includes joint ventures between PDVSA and its Russian partners in Venezuela.


The Dominican Republic hit natural gas. The Energy and Mines Ministry confirmed that natural gas was found in Villa Tapia and it will develop geological studies to determine its scope (English) (Spanish). The area is part of the Cibao Oriental block with hydrocarbon potential and is being added to the tender process that will be made public soon.


Guyana will share 75% of Hess’s 2019 budget with North Dakota. Hess Corp. will allocate 75% of its US$2.9bn exploration and production budget to assets in the Bakken and in Guyana (English). Hess will invest US$260m in the Liza Phase 1 development, US$310m in Liza Phase 2, and US$440m to drill exploration and appraisal wells on the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana.


Amerisur found black gold in Colombia. Amerisur confirmed that the Indico-1 well in Colombia encountered oil in the Lower Sands of the Une formation (English). The initial analysis indicates that a 283 feet gross, 209 feet net oil column is present in the LS3 formation, which is high-quality sand with some shale intercalations.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Jamaica’s Prime Minister will go after Petrojam’s misappropriated funds. Prime Minister Andrew Holness asked the board of Petrojam to take actions to recover funds misappropriated from the state oil refinery (English). The instruction came after reviewing the Auditor General’s report into the refinery’s operations (English).


Curacao chose a US company to restart a refinery. The Curacao government company that owns the refinery, RdK, will negotiate with the unnamed US company to sign a Memorandum of Understanding in January 2019 (English). A restart of the refinery could begin in mid-2019.


Citgo has new troubles. Crystallex resumed its efforts to auction shares of Citgo and accused Caracas of breaching a settlement to avoid the sale (English). Crystallex holds a US$1.4bn judgement against Venezuela from a US district court in Delaware related to the seizure of its gold mine (English).


Nicaragua has cheaper fuel. Fuel prices will fall again for a fifth consecutive week (Spanish). The price for a liter of premium gasoline is C$30.04, regular gasoline is C$28.83, and diesel is C$27.86 in Managua, and will be higher in the interior of the country.



Renewables & Electricity


Central America will bet big on energy projects. Panama is the country that will hold most of the investment, with US$160m in energy projects, followed by Guatemala with US$40m in investment (Spanish). El Salvador will have eight projects with an estimated investment of US$16m, and Costa Rica will have seven studies for different projects.


Guatemala’s hydroelectric plant Renace is done. Grupo Cobra finished the construction of the fourth phase of the Renace hydroelectric power plant, with a permit to use the Canlich and Cahabón rivers for 50 years. The phase will add 55MW to the national system (Spanish).


Panama increased power supply by 3%. From January until October, 72% of the power was generated with hydropower sources, 20% from thermal sources, 5% wind, 2% solar, and 1% by auto-generation (Spanish). Solar power has grown the most, from 132,000kWh to 184,000kWh, a 39% increase.


The coal for Punta Catalina arrived in the Dominican Republic. The CEO of the state electric utility announced the first 38,516 metric tons of coal that will be used to test the first unit of the Punta Catalina Power Plant arrived at the island (English). Xcoal Energy & Resources won the tender to supply the 642,000 metric tons of coal for Punta Catalina.


NFEnergía plans to speed up Puerto Rico’s clean energy transition. Besides supplying gas to San Juan’s Units 5 and 6 of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) (English), NFEnergía plans to accelerate the transition on the island from fuel oil to clean energy.



Old School Social


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


The S&P Global Platts 19th Annual Caribbean Energy Conference is scheduled for January 24-25 at the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Every year, attendees gather from all over the Caribbean, the Americas, and Europe to discuss the events and trends in Caribbean energy. Meet with private and public energy companies working in the Caribbean, plus investors and project financiers. For more information, including an agenda and speaker lineup:



Lateral Thinking


Venezuela and Cuba partnered up to cooperate in space science. Venezuela’s space agency Abae has signed an agreement with Cuban state telecommunications company Etecsa to cooperate in space science, technology, and innovation (English).



Quote of the Week


“The right of freedom of expression can really only be relevant if people are not too hungry, or too tired to be able to express themselves.”



– Maurice Bishop (1944-1983), Grenadian revolutionary leader.



We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or space plans to


Tell your friends and colleagues about the Weekly Brief! They can sign up for a free one-month trial here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]