The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


February 25, 2019 edition–Honduras’ auction canceled; Aruba’s halted refinery; and Gran Tierra’s Llanos Basin.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. The IMF is disappointed with Panama’s growth; Honduras’ power auction was canceled; and Moody’s is concerned with Nicaragua’s foreign loans.


Greater Antilles. Jamaica wants to ensure good fuel; Taiwan hit the brakes on a Haiti power grid project; and the Cayman Islands go green.


Lesser Antilles. The Bahamas had its first LNG transfer; Aruba halted the refinery makeover; and the OWTU is optimistic about selling Trinidad’s refinery assets.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Gran Tierra got a piece of the Putumayo and Llanos Basins; Stena Forth will drill in Guyana; and Rystad expects Venezuela’s oil production to be below 1 mbd by 2020.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the pact to help US companies invest in the Dominican Republic (English).



Political Economy


The IMF is disappointed with Panama’s growth… The International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Panama and concluded that its economic activity is less dynamic than expected. The IMF cut its growth estimate for 2019 from 6.3% to 6% (English).


…and Moody’s is worried over Nicaragua’s foreign loans. Moody’s changed the credit rating outlook from stable to negative and warned that the economy will remain in recession in 2019 (Spanish). Moody’s warned that Nicaragua may not be able to obtain international loans in 2019 if the international pressure continues.


El Salvador’s public investment multiplied in 2018. Public investment increased by US$161.5m by the end of 2018, reaching US$783.3m, the highest amount since 2007 (Spanish). The total executed was less than the US$942.65m that was approved and well below the US$1.24 billion planned for the year.


Venezuela broke its friendship with Curaçao. Venezuela’s military cut air and sea links with the island of Curaçao, concerned with President Trump’s threats (English). The goal is to “avoid any violations of territorial integrity.”


Puerto Rico’s economic activity hit the brakes. The Puerto Rico Economic Development Bank’s Economic Activity Index (EDB-EAI) reached 119.5 points in December 2018, a 0.7% drop compared with the previous month (English). The EDB-EAI is based on the total payroll employment, total power generation, cement sales, and gas consumption.


Colombia may kill some power subsidies. The new National Development Plan (PND) includes the elimination of power subsidies for the third stratum. The policy plans to focus social assistance on the most vulnerable people. The subsidy cannot be above 50% for the first stratum (Spanish).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Gran Tierra acquired assets in Putumayo and Llanos Basins. Gran Tierra Energy Inc. has reached an agreement to acquire a 52% working interest in and operatorship of the Suroriente Block  (English). The agreement also includes a 50% working interest and operatorship of the Putumayo-8 Block.


Stena Forth will drill in Guyana. Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas Ltd contracted the Stena Forth rig to drill the Jethro-Lobe prospect on the Orinduik block (English). The rig will spud the well in June after completing the current program offshore West Africa.


Rystad expects Venezuela’s production to sink. Rystad Energy forecasts Venezuela’s oil production could fall below 700,000 barrels per day by 2020 (English). Fuel production is expected to drop by 340,000 barrels per day year-on-year to 1 million barrels per day in 2019.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Trinidad and Tobago’s OWTU trusts someone will buy the refinery’s assets. The Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) is “confident” that  Petrotrin’s assets will be acquired soon (English). The union believes that all the requirements and international financing demands were met.


Aruba halted its refinery makeover. Refineria di Aruba NV (RdA) has stopped the plans to restart the refinery in San Nicolas due to the US sanctions placed on PDVSA (English). Citgo Aruba and the Aruban government continue working to avoid a permanent hiatus of the project.


The Bahamas had its first LNG transfer. The first ship-to-ship (STS) transfer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in The Bahamas was completed at Grand Bahama’s South Riding Point terminal (English), although the LNG will be used elsewhere. To date, Excelerate has successfully transferred 170,900,000 cubic meters of LNG using STS protocol.


The Jamaican parliament okayed the Petrojam share takeover. The Jamaica parliament has approved retaking the 49% share in Petrojam controlled by Petróleos de Venezuela Caribe (English). The goal is to execute Phase 1 of the refinery upgrade to avoid a negative impact on refining operations by 2020.


Jamaica wants to ensure good fuel. Jamaica plans to create an appropriate legislative framework to regulate the quality of the fuel supplied on the island (English). The Petroleum Act includes a cut in the pollutants and emissions from fuel use.



Renewables & Electricity


Honduras’ power auction was canceled. The Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica (ENEE) suspended the 240MW capacity power auction. The reason is the lack of an integral plan to transform the energy sector (Spanish).


The Cayman Islands go green. The Caribbean Utilities Company raised the amount of renewable energy that can be purchased from residents and businesses, but lowered the rates they will pay for it (English). The goal is to encourage renewable energy systems among Caymanians. Renewables on the CUC grid increased by 47% in 2018 (English).


The Dominican Republic finally signed the Electric Pact. The Economic and Social Council signed the Reform of the Electric Sector (English). The delay in the agreement, which started in 2017, was the debate over including the Punta Catalina power plant in the agreement.


Puerto Rico’s offshore wind proposal is in the US Senate. US Senators Bill Cassidy and Brian Schatz introduced companion legislation to Representative Jennifer González Colón’s bill to consider the feasibility of wind turbines in waters around Puerto Rico and other US territories (English).


The Bahamas renewables feel threatened. Solar energy providers demanded the government clarify the tax policies on solar power (English). The Sustainable Energy Association of the Bahamas (SEAB) argued that the current business model is outdated and does not consider the new paradigm of distributed generation (English).


Taiwan hit the brakes on a Haiti power grid project. Taiwan Foreign Affairs Ministry announced the suspension of the project to build an electricity grid in Haiti. The reason is the socio-political unrest that has affected Haiti since February 7. The construction will begin after the political situation is resolved (English).



Old School Social


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


RECAM is scheduled for March 5-7 at the Hilton Panamá Hotel in Panama City.



Lateral Thinking


Colombia issued energy-saving insurance. Colombia is the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to issue energy-saving insurance policies with the support of the Inter-American Development Bank and BANCOLDEX (English). The policies will benefit five small and medium-sized enterprises that invested in energy efficiency and power generation.



Quote of the Week


“La palabra puede exponer la acción, pero no puede suplantarla. Miles de frases son incapaces de decir tanto como una acción.”


“Words can explain actions, but cannot take their place. Thousands of sentences are incapable of saying as much as an action.”



– Juan Emilio Bosch (1909-2001) Dominican politician, historian, and short story writer.



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