The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


July 1, 2019 edition– Perenco’s pipeline; Culebra’s solar power; and Haiti’s protests.




Last Week in a Minute or Less.


Central America. Perenco continues operating Guatemala’s pipeline; and Nicaraguans pay more for power.


Greater Antilles. EDA awarded Culebra’s solar project; Punta Catalina remains in the eye of the storm; and Haiti does not forget the PetroCaribe funds.


Lesser Antilles. Touchstone will drill the Ortoire block; the Bahamas are working on its power; and Barbados will get an additional US$50m from the IMF.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Guyana improved its maritime rules; the Caño Limón pipeline was bombed again; and Guyana put a name on its first oil production vessel.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in GPL’s power purchase (English); and Curacao’s refining future (English).



Political Economy


Fitch held the Dominican Republic’s rating at BB-. The international rating agency maintained the Dominican Republic’s longer term rating at BB- with a stable outlook (English). Fitch expects the Dominican Republic’s GDP to grow by 5.8% in 2019, down from 7% in 2018.


Barbados will get an additional US$50m from the IMF. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved an additional US$48.7m after completing the review of Barbados’ progress implementing the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) (English). The IMF said all performance criteria were met.


Haiti hasn’t forgotten about the PetroCaribe funds. After four months, Haitians keep protesting to demand President Jovenel Moïse’s resignation due to allegations of embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars of government funds (English). Demonstrators and local reporters believe US$2bn went unaccounted for from the PetroCaribe program.


Cuba and the EU strengthen their cooperation. Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez met the representative of the EU Commission for International Cooperation and Development and discussed the bilateral cooperation programs on renewable energy and climate change (English). The EU confirmed its intent to keep increasing funds to cooperate with the island.


Grenada enjoyed its lowest interest rate on Treasury bills. For the first time in its history, Grenada attracted an interest rate below 1.80% for its Treasury bills, reissuing an EC$15m 91-day Treasury bill at a yield of 1.75% (English). The government said the securities were completely auctioned and reflected an increase in investor demand.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Guyana improved its maritime rules. The government of Guyana is preparing for oil and gas industry development by improving the maritime legislative framework (English). The government is also drafting the requisite regulations to give full effect to the key international maritime instrument.


Guyana put a name on its first oil production vessel. Lady Sandra Granger, wife of President David Granger, dedicated the first oil production vessel, the “Liza Destiny,” at a ceremony (English). Guyana hopes to begin commercial oil production next year and that the partnership with ExxonMobil will be “a long voyage.”


Touchstone will drill the Ortoire block. The Canadian-based company focused on exploration and production in Trinidad & Tobago said it is ready to spud the first well in the Ortoire block, with an estimated value of between US$10.5m and US$86.6m (English). Touchstone increased production by 37% in the first quarter of 2019.


TPHL published its debt exchange offers. Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Limited (TPHL) announced the expiration of the offers to exchange all of its outstanding notes issued by Petrotrin to TPHL debt securities. The amount of notes tendered was US$570m, and the valid tender of at least US$150m of existing notes was met (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Perenco continues operating Guatemala’s pipeline. Guatemala will extend Parenco’s emergency contract to operate the Hydrocarbons Transportation System another 30 days (Spanish). Perenco was the only bidder in the tender for a 25-year contract last year and has operated under an emergency contract while the government decides if a new tender is needed.


The Caribbean Islands Bunker Fuel Market is expected to double by 2025. The Caribbean Islands Bunker Fuel Market was valued at US$8.2bn in 2019 and is expected to reach US$16.4bn by 2025, growing at a CAGR of +10% in that period (English).


PES shut down the Pennsylvania refinery. Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) confirmed it would close its 330,000 barrels per day refinery. Former majority owner Sunoco had planned to shut the refinery in 2012, following a wave of East Coast and Caribbean refinery capacity reductions (English). Two different USAC traders said that the sulfur content of recent PES fuel oil cargoes can only find buyers in the Caribbean (English).


The Caño Limón pipeline was bombed again. A bomb attack caused an oil spill onto the ground in the Arauca province. Ecopetrol said the pipeline was not functioning when the attack happened (English). It was the 19th attack on the pipeline this year.



Renewables & Electricity


The Bahamas are working on its power. A minister questioned if Nidec has all the necessary approvals from Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) to construct the minigrid facility (English). BPL plans to offer an auction in the next two weeks to replace the Bimini generation units (English).


Nicaraguans pay more for power. The Nicaraguan Energy Institute (INE) increased power tariffs by 1.43%, reaching a 10% increase since December 2018 (Spanish). Consumers with claims over their receipts in Disnorte-Dissur (and who lost the case in the first instance) would have to pay part of the claimed amount to proceed with the process (Spanish).


EDA awarded Culebra’s solar project. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Economic Development Administration department awarded a US$4.1m grant to Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico to install a renewable energy system in Culebra (English). The goal is to create a strong and resilient energy system.


Punta Catalina remains in the eye of the storm. Although it is shown as “available,” Punta Catalina generates less than one megawatt in its testing phase and Odebrecht has not explained its outage (English). Journalists have found US$39m in bribes linked to the construction of the Punta Catalina power plant, on top of the US$92m already admitted (English).



Old School Social


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



The 6th Geothermal Congress for Latin America and the Caribbean will be held July 17-18 at the W Santiago, in Santiago.



Lateral Thinking


Corals can manage acidification, but with thinner skeletons. Three Caribbean coral species are adapting to the rise in carbon dioxide levels and the resulting seawater acidification, but their skeleton density is lower than normal (English). The coral species can grow under conditions more severe than those expected for this century.



Quote of the Week


“Life is subversive.”



– Ernesto Cardenal (1925), Nicaraguan priest, poet, and politician.



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