The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


July 15, 2019 edition– Jethro-Lobe drilling; the Dominican Republic oil and gas round; and Petrojam’s new deal.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala will ask communities about the Renace hydro project.


Greater Antilles. The Dominican Republic had its first oil round; Jamaica and Barbados made a fuel deal; and the US sanctioned Cubametales for Venezuelan imports.


Lesser Antilles. The EU will support Dominica’s renewables; Barbados and Jamaica made a fuel deal; and Martinique will work on energy savings with EUR100m.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas and Tullow started drilling Jethro-Lobe; the US may let the Venezuelan waiver for Chevron expire; and Colombia was the leader in oil discoveries in the second quarter.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Barbados’ upgrade (English); and Puerto Rico’s fight against fraudulent fuel suppliers (English).



Political Economy


Maduro and the Venezuelan opposition will resume talks in Barbados. Negotiations between the government and the opposition will restart in Barbados to put an end to months of instability (English). The Inter-American Development Bank and representatives of cooperation agencies discussed possible areas of collaboration to support Venezuela (English).


The IDB okayed a US$55m donation for Haiti. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a donation of US$55m to strengthen Haiti’s public management and delivery of services (English). The project will also improve the computer systems and professionalize public human resources skills.


Trinidad and Tobago and the Bahamas had a bad week. Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said the country and its business is in good hands despite the S&P’s downgrade (English). The Bahamas will not meet the deadline to join the World Trade Organization (English).


The EU will support Dominica’s renewables. The European Union will offer EUR2.55m to Dominica to increase the resilience of the country’s energy sector thanks to the installation of a solar power plant in the airport (English). The program will last until 2022.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas and Tullow started drilling Jethro-Lobe. Tullow Guyana and Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas commenced drilling their first exploration well on the Jethro-Lobe prospect on the Orinduik Block, using the Stena Forth drillship (English). The spud will be followed by an exploration well on the Joe prospect.


The Dominican Republic had its first oil round. The Dominican Republic had its first oil and gas licensing round for onshore and offshore blocks to attract the industry (English). A total of 26 companies from 11 countries participated, and they will send their financial and technical capacity with their legal and environmental responsibility documents by October 13 (English).


The US may let the Venezuelan waiver for Chevron expire. The Trump administration is considering the expiration without renewal of a waiver that allowed Chevron and other US oil services companies to continue working with PDVSA (English). The waiver expires on July 27 and could put even more pressure on Venezuelan oil output.


Colombia’s Hocol signed four oil contracts. Ecopetrol’s Hocol unit signed four contracts for oil exploration, which will require US$100m in investment. Hocol and GeoPark will develop the Llanos 86, Llanos 87, and Llanos 104 oilfields over the next three years, drilling six exploratory wells (English).


Colombia led in oil discoveries in the second quarter. Colombia found the most oil and gas discoveries in the second quarter, followed by India, Russia, and Pakistan (English). Colombia found seven onshore discoveries, five of which were conventional oil and two were conventional gas.



Oil & Gas Downstream


The US sanctioned Cubametales for Venezuelan imports. The US Treasury Department sanctioned the Cuban state-run oil import and export company for importing crude from Venezuela in exchange for helping Maduro with defense (English). Treasury unblocked PB Tankers vessels that were previously sanctioned after the company proved it was not helping Venezuela.


Bimini needs fuel fast. Bimini’s resorts and marinas faced fuel shortages during the US Independence Day holiday weekend due to the uncertain arrival of a new supply of gasoline on the island (English). This was after Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) was making progress to stop power outages that have lasted for weeks.


Barbados and Jamaica made a fuel deal. The Barbados National Terminal Company Limited agreed to receive fuel supply from Petrojam after the Petrotrin oil refinery in Trinidad and Tobago closed (English). The contract with Petrojam has existed over the last six months and the relationship with the island was a decisive factor.


Offshore pipeline infrastructure is expected to bloom. The rapid discovery of oil and gas reserves and the need for reliable infrastructure is expected to boost the industry landscape in North America and the Caribbean Sea (English).


Protesters blocked the Ocensa and TGI pipelines. More than 300 people blocked the pipelines of Ocensa and TGI in Boyacá, in the central region of Colombia (Spanish). The protesters demanded the companies comply with the natural gas project promised to the communities.



Renewables & Electricity


BPL had a busy week. Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) has chosen Bimini, Eleuthera, Andros, and Inagua to pioneer solar energy due to their additional generation needs (English). Citibank will be the lead adviser for the mega financial restructuring of BPL (English).


The Belco-Algonquin sale is not a done deal. The sale of Bermuda’s electrical grid is not yet a given, as Bermuda’s independent Regulatory Authority would have to approve it. APUC has pledged to work closely with the Bermuda government and Regulatory Authority “to ensure a seamless transition” (English).


Solar will power up the Haiti-Dominican Republic border. The National Energy Commission and the Defense Ministry plan to install solar panels on 70 military facilities along the border with Haiti (Spanish). The goal is to contribute to the environmental conservation of resources in the country.


Martinique will work on energy savings with EUR100m. The program to boost energy savings will help develop energy transition in the country (French) between 2019 and 2023 through the development of 60 energy-saving actions and with a EUR100m budget.


Guatemala will ask communities about the Renace hydro project. The Supreme Court ordered a public consultation in the communities in the area close to the hydropower project Renace (Spanish). The permit was given before the need for public consultations was set.



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


NASA found the world’s biggest seaweed bloom. Thanks to a NASA satellite, scientists have observed and documented the largest bloom of macroalgae in the world (dubbed the Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt) from West Africa to the Gulf of Mexico (English). Scientists conclude that the ocean’s chemistry must have changed due to climate change for sargassum to bloom so much.



Quote of the Week


“Offspring were a joy or a shame, but still the crown of their elders, nature’s unpredictable creatures.”


-Achy Obejas (1956), Cuban-American writer and translator.



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