The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean

July 17, 2017 edition – Guyana’s offshore is getting busy; Vicini is selling Punta Catalina’s land; and Barbados raised natural gas prices.





Political Economy


The new US policy on Cuba will be announced in September. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department will publish new regulations on Cuba on September 15 (English). Trump signed a memorandum of national security strengthening US policy towards Cuba.


Trinidad & Tobago is working on its economy and public relations. Trinidad and Tobago and the Dominican Republic agreed to strengthen and expand the trade relations (Spanish). The Finance Minister Colm Imbert clarified Moody’s announcement of billions of dollars in cuts from public salaries this year (English).


IMF said Nicaragua may suffer under the Trump administration. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) considers the possible changes in US trade policies a threat to the Nicaraguan economy (Spanish). The US receives 56% of Nicaragua’s exports and is the source of more than 50% of the country’s remittances.


Inflation is under control in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic’s central bank reported inflation reached 1.02% in the first half of the year (Spanish). In Nicaragua, inflation reached 2% due to the increase in water, power, gas, and other fuel prices (Spanish).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Activity surrounds offshore Guyana… In addition to Liza, which became the first Latin American deepwater field development sanctioned in 2017, partners have made additional deepwater oil discoveries in the Stabroek block (English). In ten years, the Liza-Payara development is expected to produce 330,000 barrels per day.


…and the government will need a guide. Experts warned Guyana cannot deal with the huge influx of invoices from ExxonMobil (English). Industry experts expect payments by international oil companies to be examined, as Guyana prepares to start commercial oil production in 2020.


Colombia backs its oil sector. The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) is starting to license onshore areas in the North and Northwest in July/August 2017 (English). The areas are located in the Sinú-San Jacinto, Llanos Orientales and medio Valle del Magdalena basins and the Caguan-Putamayo basin will be added in 2018.


Talos and friends hit 1 billion barrels in black gold. The US company and its partners made a “world class” oil discovery which holds more than 1 billion barrels with the first exploration well (English). The Zama-1 finding can attract other private companies to bid in future rounds (English) (Spanish).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Nicaragua’s fuel prices on the rise… Fuel prices increased by 2.55 córdobas per gallon for regular gasoline, while diesel gallon prices will increase by 2.33 córdobas (Spanish). The measure came after five consecutive price reductions, according to the Nicaraguan Energy Institute.


…while the Dominican Republic’s natural gas prices remained the same. The Industry and Commerce Ministry published the increase in regular gasoline and diesel prices. Natural gas prices remained unchanged at RD$28.97 per cubic meter, while propane gas prices rose by RD$2.00 per gallon (English).


Barbados’s NPC increased natural gas prices. The National Petroleum Corporation (NPC) announced an increase in natural gas prices to domestic and commercial customers on July 6 (English). The domestic rate will move to BBD$1.70 from BBD$1.48, the first increase in 15 years.



Renewables & Electricity


Cayman’s first renewable energy plant is under review. The CEO of OfReg said the utilities regulator is analyzing the process to contract Cayman’s first commercial-scale renewable energy plant which opened June 20 (English). The study will consider what went right and what went wrong in the implementation of the National Energy Policy.


Central America received US$1.2bn in energy projects. CentralAmericaData listed 27 public and private projects that have presented environmental impact studies in the past year, amounting to US$1.2bn of investment (Spanish). Panamá is the big winner with US$877m in energy generation projects, while Costa Rica follows with US$254m.


Vicini is ready to show its cards over Punta Catalina. Vicini, the owner of the land where the Punta Catalina power plant is under construction, is ready to sell the land to the Dominican Republic government  (English). The Congressmen from the Energy Commission visited the construction site of the plant to supervise the works (Spanish).


Guatemala’s power is brought back to date. The Energy National Commission (CNEE) and the Energy Ministry staff were trained in the use of SDDP software (Spanish). The training will help improve energy sector planning and forecasting to reach better decisions based on quantitative analysis.


Higher taxes on Barbados’s solar panels. On May 30, Finance Minister Chris Sinckler announced a 10% National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) on solar water heaters and solar panels (English). Some operators fear the tax will sink their business hiking photovoltaic system prices by BDS$2,000.



Lateral Thinking


The Dominican Republic is protecting sharks. The Dominican Republic government is working with Global FinPrint researchers to protect sharks through a national ban on shark and ray fishing (English). The moratorium includes fishing of herbivorous fish including parrotfish and surgeons for two years.



Quote of the Week


“Vivir sin Patria, es lo mismo que vivir sin Honor.”


“To live without a homeland, is the same as to live without honor.”



-Juan Pablo Duarte (1813-1876), Dominican politician and activist, one of the Founding Fathers of the Dominican Republic.




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