The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean

July 10, 2017 edition – Guyana’s oil and gas agreements; Dominican Republic’s natural gas plants; and Bermuda’s fuel policy.





Political Economy


Cuba and New Zealand will strengthen their partnership. Cuba’s Foreign minister and his New Zealand counterpart worked on bilateral relations in the economic and political sectors between the South Pacific nation and the Caribbean island (English). The ties date back to 1999 and both diplomats discussed the importance of developing joint projects.


Costa Rica’s foreign investment and Cuba’s economy hit the gas. Direct foreign investment in Costa Rica reached US$811.6m in the first quarter of 2017, a 5.4% increase compared to the same period in 2016 (Spanish). Cuba’s economy performed as forecasted in the first half of 2017 (English).


The IDB backed Suriname, the DR, and Guatemala. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) offered a US$40m and a US$50m loan to Suriname and the Dominican Republic, respectively, to reduce budget deficits (English) (English). The IDB urged Guatemala’s congressmen to ratify the US$115m loan to improve the Mesoamerican Corridor, creating 14,000 jobs (Spanish).


The IMF ends St Kitts and Nevis’ consultation and warned Barbados. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the economic recovery of Barbados continues, but the country should not forget public finances (English). The IMF put an end on the Article IV consultation with St Kitts and Nevis, noting their moderate economic performance in 2016 (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Guyana will sign up with OPEC. Guyana will join the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development (OFID). The goal is to benefit from OFID’s resources to advance private sector, trade finance, and public-sector operations (English).


Guyana will secure oil and gas agreements. Guyana is reviewing agreements to prepare the country’s oil and gas sector for 2020 and look after “the best interest of the people of Guyana” (English). The agreements include the creation of an Oil and Gas Local Content Policy and a Sovereign Wealth Fund.


Colombia will strengthen its upstream sector. The fall in oil prices and foreign direct investment forced the Colombian government to make adjustment to relieve budgetary pressures and maintain natural gas self-sufficiency (English). The government relaxed the exploration agreements terms by extending by nine months the three-year exploration phases.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Bermuda’s last call on fuel policy. The period for public consultation on the Bermuda’s National Fuels Sector Policy draft is almost over (English). The draft proposes the assessment of new fuels and technologies and fuel security, quality, and affordability.


St. Lucia stands up for fuel tax. The St. Lucia government defended the imposition of a EC$1.50 tax on fuel after gasoline prices surpassed EC$12 per gallon (English). The Finance minister assured that gasoline should have cost even more, but the government decided to limit gas prices to $12.75 per gallon.


The Curacao refinery is recovering after the fire. The Robert Brelsford Downstream Technology Editor Operator Refinería Isla Curacao BV restarted processing activities at the Refineria Di Korsou (English). The 320,000 barrels per day refinery at Emmastad, Curacao, suffered a fire in late May in the crude distillation unit.


The Caribbean depends on imported fuel. The Caribbean region’s energy production is 87% from imported fossil fuels and 10 out of 13 Caribbean nations’ electricity generation capacity comes from diesel or oil (English). To avoid oil prices volatility and supply shortages, the Caribbean should focus on developing its solar and wind potential.



Renewables & Electricity


Two members abandoned the Punta Catalina auction. The Commission investigating the bidding and allocation of the Punta Catalina Thermoelectrical Plant lost two members due to the lack of technical details (Spanish). The Committee authorized the hiring of the Stanley Consultant for the bidding process with a US$636m offer.


Panama will ration energy. Panamá created a national committee affiliated with the World Energy Council to rationalize the country’s energy use (Spanish). The goal is to propose policies to provide environmentally friendly, stable, and affordable energy.


Guatemala’s Nebaj community opposed hydroelectric plants. The Indigenous mayor of Nebaj, Guatemala, will pursue legal actions against the construction of hydroelectric plants (Spanish). According to the mayor, the consultation processes for the Vega 1 and Vega 2 hydroelectric plants were stopped due to the lack of interest from the Energy Ministry.


The Dominican Republic eyes natural gas plants. The government of the Dominican Republic will focus on a tender for a 900MW project for natural gas plants (English). In February 2011, US companies Chernier Energy and North Energy Central made offers to build natural gas powered plants.


A loan for a Monte Grande dam is ready. Senator Eddy Mateo Vásquez assured new steps in the US$250m loan to build a dam in Monte Grande, Dominican Republic (English). The loan was requested by the Central American Economic Integration Bank and is expected to be approved by Congress.



Lateral Thinking


The fight against Caribbean beach erosion. Almost every Caribbean beach suffers erosion from sand extraction for the construction industry and the tourism installations on dunes (English). The Association of Caribbean States raised funds to adapt to the new climate from the Netherlands, South Korea, and Turkey.



Quote of the Week


“We can’t all be happy, we can’t all be rich, we can’t all be lucky – and it would be so much less fun if we were… There must be the dark background to show up the bright colours.”



-Jean Rhys (1890-1979), novelist who was born and lived in Dominica and wrote Wide Sargasso Sea




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