The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean

December 18, 2017 edition- Guyana’s Christmas bonus; El Salvador is going to need a bigger grid; and Guatemala consults on hydro plants.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. El Salvador needs to expand its grid; Guatemala got five communities to support a hydroelectric plant; and Meteocontrol and ECOBLITZ will monitor solar energy in Central America.


Greater Antilles. The DR’s Monte Grande dam is on its way and Puerto Rico and Germany will look for investment in renewables.


Lesser Antilles. Bermuda’s fuel policy is almost ready and Taiwan and the CDB will bet on St. Kitts and Nevis.


Northern South America. Canada is getting oil from Colombia; ExxonMobil is prepared for an oil spill in Guyana; and Suriname starts fuel distribution.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in ExxonMobil’s support to Guyana against Venezuela (English); Suriname’s energy supply system (Dutch); and Maduro’s control over oil contracts (English).





Editorial Interlude


Dear Readers –


A Brief reminder that this is the last edition of the Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean for 2017. We will not publish the Brief on December 25th or January 1 to allow our staff and you to enjoy the holidays undisturbed.  The next edition will go out first thing on January 8, 2018.


In the meantime, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season, and a prosperous New Year.


— the Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean team





Political Economy


S&P is disappointed in Venezuela and Colombia. The risk rating agency declared Venezuela in default on two more of its foreign debt bonds (Spanish). Venezuela has only managed to restructure US$3bn of its debt, a fraction of the estimated US$150bn it owes (English). S&P lowered Colombia’s rating to BBB-/A-3 on weaker policy flexibility (English)


Puerto Rico and Germany will work to make it rain. Puerto Rico signed partnerships and agreements with the German government and academia to attract renewable energy industry investment (English). Local universities and the state of Baden-Württemberg will study the feasibility of a self-sustainable bio-economic model.


The IDB had a busy week in Latin America. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved US$1.95bn for the Dominican Republic’s Country Strategy (English), US$40m to back Colombia’s fight against corruption (English), and $10m to help Belize reduce climate vulnerability (English).


St. Kitts and Nevis got some love from Taiwan and the CDB. The Taiwan ambassador to St. Kitts and Nevis assured that his government intends to continue providing significant support to the Caribbean nation in 2018 (English). The CDB approved US$76m to boost St. Kitts and Nevis’ development from 2017 to 2021 (English).


The Caribbean will become a “climate-smart zone.” The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced its support for the Caribbean Climate-Smart Coalition, with the goal to transform the region into the world’s first “climate-smart” zone (English). The coalition will fund an US$8bn investment plan, which will benefit 3.2 million households.



Oil & Gas Upstream


ExxonMobil is prepared for an oil spill in Guyana. The US oil giant assured that it has “the latest available technology” to respond to an oil spill in Guyana, even preparing locals to be first responders (English). ExxonMobil’s vessels are equipped with on-board dispersant application devices.


ExxonMobil gave Guyana a Christmas gift. The US oil giant paid over US$18m as a bonus to the Guyana government, considering it “customary and normal in many petroleum agreements” (English). The Guyana government assured that “the money was not dishonestly acquired” (English).


The Canadian-Colombian oil axis is going strong. Although based in Calgary, Parex produces oil in Colombia through new and reactivated old fields using enhanced-recovery techniques (English). Parex’s shares have gained 11% since oil slipped below US$100.


GeoPark is delineating its Llanos Block discovery. GeoPark confirmed it successfully completed the Tigana Norte 4 appraisal well in Colombia’s Llanos 34 Block to a total depth of 3,575m (English). The well results indicated potential for hydrocarbons in both the Guadalupe and Mirador formations. GeoPark is now drilling Tigana Norte 5.



Oil & Gas Downstream


The Dominican Republic tweaked fuel prices. The Industry and Commerce Ministry published fuel prices with a reduction of RD$1.00 per gallon of premium and an increase of RD$1.00 per gallon of regular gasoline (English).  Natural gas will remain at RD$28.97 per cubic meter.


Bermuda may see a new fuel policy in 2018. Bermuda’s Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs assured that the National Fuels Policy will be published in the first six weeks of 2018 (English). The goal is to redirect the fuel sector towards a sustainable and safe future.


Suriname started distributing fuel. The Natural Resource Ministry announced it would supply more than 100 villages with diesel (Dutch). The ministry delivered 25,000 liters and aims to distribute more than 200,000 liters to communities and repair defective generators.


Jamaica’s Energy Minister cut the ribbon on a Texaco-branded service station. Energy Minister Andrew Wheatley gave an address at the newest Texaco service station in Jamaica, which boasts top technology on the forecourt and pumps (English).



Renewables & Electricity


El Salvador paid its power subsidy bill. El Salvador’s government paid power distributors the owed energy subsidy with an ELC$168m loan (Spanish). Of that amount, the Finance Ministry borrowed ELC$68m from El Salvador’s market and ELC$100m from an international bank.


Guatemala finished community consults with five agreements. The Energy and Mines Ministry (MEM) reached five agreements related to the operation of the Oxec and Oxec II hydroelectric plants in Alta Verapaz (Spanish). The goal was to achieve legal certainty and develop legislation demanded by the Constitutional Court.


Meteocontrol and ECOBLITZ will monitor solar energy in El Salvador… Meteocontrol GmbH and ECOBLITZ signed a business alliance to strengthen their presence in Central America and Mexico and improve customer service (Spanish). Mexico’s solar capacity is forecast to grow 17 GW in the next five years.


…and El Salvador needs to expand its grid. The Salvadorian Industrial Association said that more transmission line capacity is needed to support new energy projects such as the solar plant planned for Usulután and the natural gas plant to be built in Acajutla (Spanish).


The DR’s Monte Grande dam is under construction. The Dominican Republic’s Finance Minister announced the start of the Monte Grande dam construction (English). The project, which will generate 18MW, has been on the drawing board for three years.



Old School Social


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


The Trinidad and Tobago Energy Conference 2018 is January 22-24 at the Hyatt Regency, in Port of Spain.


The Platts 18th Annual Caribbean Energy Conference is January 25-26 at the 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


Hurricanes harmed tropical forests too. After a hectic hurricane season, satellite images showed extensive damage to the 28,400-acre El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico (English). Of the park’s 50 native Puerto Rican wild parrots, 16 died, and Dominica’s endangered imperial parrot has just been spotted three times since Hurricane Maria.



Quote of the Week


“Un límite para el que domina, para el que atesora. ¿Por qué no? Todas las cosas en el Cosmos lo tienen.”


“A limit for the one who dominates, the one who treasures. Why not? Everything in the Cosmos has it.”


-Alberto Masferrer (1868-1932), Salvadoran essayist, journalist, and philosopher.



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