The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


February 5, 2018 edition—T&T and Venezuela’s gas supply; Cuba’s renewables; and Guyana’s domestic fuel demand.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala exported more energy to Mexico and El Salvador and South Korea made Moody’s happy with their trade agreement.


Greater Antilles. Cuba is developing its power; DR distributors need US$800m to recover; and the World Bank okayed a US$15m loan for Jamaican enterprises.


Lesser Antilles. A&V failed to get an injunction against Petrotrin; the Bahamas will build an oil containment project; and T&T and Venezuela have almost agreed on the terms for gas supply between the two countries.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. The ICJ will settle the Guyana and Venezuela border controversy; Guyana is considering its domestic demand; and Colombia’s ELN threatened oil and gas infrastructure.



Political Economy


The Dominican Republic’s economy grew 4.6% in 2017. According to the Central Bank, the Dominican economy grew 4.6% in 2017, despite the millions in losses caused by hurricanes Irma and María. The Central Bank governor announced that 120,237 new jobs were created in 2017 (Spanish).


The World Bank okayed a US$15m loan for Jamaican enterprises. The World Bank approved a US$15m loan to give micro, small, and medium Jamaican enterprises (English) access to financing. Access to financing is difficult for companies, and small and medium businesses account for 90% of the country’s jobs.


Moody’s is happy with the free trade agreement between South Korea and El Salvador. The international rating agency said the free trade agreement will benefit South Korea’s trade and will bring investment to El Salvador. The agreement is expected to be signed on February 21 (Spanish).


The IMF is concerned about Barbados’ economy. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board completed the 2017 Article IV consultation with Barbados (English). Barbados’ GDP growth is slowing due to the increased pace of fiscal consolidation, and real growth reached 1.6% in 2016 (English).


OECS will partner up with Georgia and Martinique. The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) will work with Georgia (English), a key geo-political partner. The Chamber of Commerce of Martinique, the OECS, and the Caribbean Export Development Agency cooperated to launch the Trade Enhancement in the Eastern Caribbean Project (TEECA) (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Colombia’s ELN threatened oil and gas infrastructure. The Colombian Petroleum Association forecast 45% growth in private oil and gas investments in 2018 (English) now that the FARC has ended its insurgency. However, only six hours after its ceasefire expired, the National Liberation Army (ELN) dynamited a pipeline and kidnapped an Ecopetrol engineer in Saravena.


A&V failed to get an injunction against Petrotrin. The courts did not grant A&V Oil and Gas an interim injunction restraining Petrotrin from terminating its contract. The injunction had also challenged Petrotrin’s right to withhold US$83.9m (English) under the terms of the agreement.


Guyana is considering cheap oil for domestic demand. Guyana must decide if domestic oil consumers will pay less, while still requiring ExxonMobil to satisfy Guyana’s oil consumption (English). Between 13,000 to 15,000 barrels per day of premium quality oil will be set aside for local fuel needs.


The ICJ will settle Guyana and Venezuela’s border controversy. The UN referred the controversy over the Guyana-Venezuela border to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for final resolution (English). Venezuela has insisted on an historic claim to the Essequibo region (English) since ExxonMobil discovered oil in 2015.



Oil & Gas Downstream


T&T and Venezuela have almost agreed on sharing gas supply. Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela are close to finalizing an agreement to share cross-border gas resources (English) between the two countries. They have discussed developing gas in the Loran/Manatee fields that straddle the countries’ maritime borders.


Cuba is updating its fuel storage. Cuba is broadening its storage capacity at the Nuevitas maritime terminal (Spanish). The goal is to perform general maintenance on tanks to stabilize fuel distribution, continuing a maintenance program that started in 2006.


T&T wants CNC and NGC to make peace. Trinidad & Tobago encouraged the Caribbean Nitrogen Company (CNC) to negotiate with the National Gas Company (NGC) after the breakdown of commercial negotiations. The gas supply agreement between NGC and CNC expired (English), and the parties could not agree on pricing from 2018 to 2023.


The Bahamas inspected the construction of an oil containment project. The Bahamas’ Environment & Housing Minister visited Clifton Pier to inspect the construction and plans of the oil containment tank at the Bahamas Power & Light Headquarters (English). The project to build the tank and prevent oil spill accidents will cost almost BSD$12m.



Renewables & Electricity


Cuba is working on its power. The European Union will provide EUR18m for renewable energy development  (Spanish) and energy efficiency in Cuba. EdeEste improved the power service of the Sabana Perdida substation and the quality of life for more than 11,360 inhabitants in the Santo Domingo Norte municipality.


DR distributors need US$800m to get back on their feet. The Dominican Electrical Industry Association said the three distribution companies (EDES) need US$800m in investment to recover. The private sector will modernize the grid, installing intelligent systems (English) to assemble an intelligent network.


Guatemala exported energy to Mexico. Guatemala started 2018 exporting 80MW to Mexico (Spanish) through the binational interconnection. In 2016, Guatemala exported energy to Mexico to supply 12 municipalities in the state of Chiapas.


All eyes set on Punta Catalina. The dispute between the Dominican Republican utility and Odebrecht over the US$708m cost overrun in the Punta Catalina power plant will be resolved by US courts (English). Punta Catalina will begin operating in the last quarter of 2018 (Spanish).


A working group was named to transform Puerto Rico’s power. Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced a working group to transform the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (English). The team will include Christian Sobrino, María Palou, Todd W. Filsinger, the Rothschild firm, Prepa, and government lawyers.



Old School Social


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


The Caribbean Conference on Functional Materials (CARIBMAT 2018) is scheduled for February 7-9 at the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.



Lateral Thinking


The PCJ awarded a J$4m renewable energy scholarship. Shanroy Dennis, a 23-year-old student at the University of Technology, won the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) Renewable Energy Scholarship. The grant covers the full cost of tuition (English) for his Master of Science Degree in Renewable Energy Engineering.



Quote of the Week


“Feliz quien puede dormir sin miedo ni remordimiento, en el lecho macizo y venerable de sus padres, donde todos los suyos nacieron y murieron también.”


“Happy is he who can sleep without fear or remorse, in the solid and venerable bed of their parents where all their people were born and died too.”


-José María de Heredia (1842-1905), Cuban poet and translator.



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