The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


July 22, 2019 edition– BHP gas discovery; St Vincent and the Grenadines’ geothermal potential; and Massy Gas’ interest in Petrojam.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Turboden will supply El Salvador’s Berlin Geothermal project; Panama increased its solar capacity; and the IMF congratulated Honduras on its progress.


Greater Antilles. Massy Gas has Jamaica’s oil refinery in sight; a federal court confirms the Cobra contracts investigation; and renewables are up in the Dominican Republic.


Lesser Antilles. BHP confirmed its successful gas find in Trinidad and Tobago; and St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ geothermal potential is confirmed.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. ExxonMobil praises Guyana’s absence of ring-fencing oil contracts; oil companies fight over Colombia’s pipeline tariff; and Guyana is working on oil and gas safety and health regulations.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in US plans to let the Venezuelan waiver expire for Chevron (English).



Political Economy


The IMF congratulated Honduras on its progress. The International Monetary Fund said Honduras’ growth in 2018 slowed to 3.75% and is expected to fall to 3.5% in 2019 (English). The deficit is expected to remain stable at 4% of GDP, but the outlook may be exposed to downside risks.


Pompeo pushes for Dominican Republic’s democracy. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized the importance of democracy in the Dominican Republic in a call with President Danilo Medina. He is concerned about Medina’s plans to propose a constitutional amendment to remove the limits to his third consecutive presidency (English).


Puerto Rico asked for the Governor’s resignation after homophobic messages leaked. Thousands of protesters marched in San Juan for several days calling for the resignation of governor Ricardo Rosselló after 889 pages of sexist private chat messages were leaked (English) (Spanish); Rosselló refuses to do so (English). Cruises are canceling their arrivals in the city for security reasons (Spanish).


Cuba’s economy tumbled. Tourism in the island has dropped 8.5% this year due to harsh US restrictions on travel (English) (Spanish). Diaz-Canel said the economy grew 2.2% in 2018 and that it would be hard to reach this year’s goal of 1.5% growth (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


BHP confirmed it found gas in Trinidad and Tobago. BHP found gas in the three wells drilled during Phase 3 of its deepwater drilling campaign (English). The three discoveries have established additional gas volumes in the Bongos discovery, pushing BHP to continue its evaluation.


Frontera was awarded an extra block. The National Hydrocarbons Agency (ANH) awarded the VIM-22 block to the Canadian company in addition to the LLA-99 block announced on June 27 (English). The VIM-22 block covers 412,330 acres and the company will operate and hold 100% interest in each block.


ExxonMobil praised Guyana’s absence of ring-fencing oil contracts. ExxonMobil’s Country Manager Rod Henson defended the 2016 renegotiation of the Production Sharing Agreement between the company and the Guyana government. Henson warned that pushing to change the lack of ring-fencing provisions and criticizing the 2% royalty could hurt investments (English).


Guyana is working on oil and gas safety and health regulations. A package of regulations for workers’ safety in the oil and gas sector is being planned with the help of the International Labor Organization (English). International companies require other entities and countries to have safe and healthy practices in the sector.



Oil & Gas Downstream



Oil companies fight over Colombia’s pipeline tariff. Oil companies complained about the 10% increase in the pipeline tariff established by Ocensa and okayed by the government (Spanish). The Colombian Oil Association complained to the Deputy Minister of Energy about not keeping the promise established in the regulation.


The IEA described a changing global gas market. Although US supply and Chinese demand will continue dominating the market, a wave of final investment decision approvals for new LNG export capacity could change the market, with some suppliers seeking out customers in smaller markets, such as the Caribbean (English).


Massy Gas has Jamaica’s oil refinery in sight… Massy Gas announced its interest in leasing the Petrojam Oil Refinery if it is divested by the government (English). The Petrojam Strategic Review Committee recommended privatizing the refinery with a long-term lease.


…and Tropical Storm Barry caused Jamaica to pay more for gasoline. The state-owned company announced that gas prices will increase for the fourth straight week, with E-10 87 selling at J$134.98 per liter and J$137.81 for E-10 90 (English). Petrojam pointed to Tropical Storm Barry and the devaluation in the foreign exchange rate as the reasons for the price increases.



Renewables & Electricity


A federal court confirms the Cobra contracts investigation.  A federal investigation is being developed regarding the contracts awarded by Cobra Acquisitions Energy to repair Puerto Rico’s electrical grid after Hurricanes Irma and Maria (English). Cobra’s contracts with Puerto Rico’s utility amounted to US$1.8bn.


Renewables are up in the Dominican Republic and Panama. The Dominican Republic continues to add renewable energy to the national grid with a 7% injection (English), while Punta Catalina increased its supply to 320MW since July 6 (English). Panama’s solar capacity passed the 500MW mark (Spanish).


The US wants to boost renewable energy projects in the Caribbean. The Bureau of Energy Resources at the US State Department said that more than 70 projects have been identified that could receive technical assistance or finance from the Global Power Sector Program (English).


Colombia will schedule its renewable energy auction by October. The renewable energy auction that was canceled in February due to low participation was rescheduled to happen before the end of October (English). The auction will include renewable projects of 5MW or more with contracts for 15 years.


St Vincent and the Grenadines’ geothermal potential is confirmed. St Vincent and the Grenadines has sufficient temperature and permeability at 2,500 meters below ground to generate geothermal energy (English). The geothermal source is a bit deeper than officials expected, and they plan to go down to 2,700 meters.


Turboden will supply El Salvador’s Berlin Geothermal project. Turboden and La Geo have signed an agreement in which Turboden will supply an ORC geothermal power plant at the Berlin Geothermal Field in El Salvador to La Geo. The goal is to produce up to 8MWe (English).



Old School Social


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


The Dominican Republic Grid Investment Forum will be held September 5 at the Intercontinental Santo Domingo, in Santo Domingo.



Lateral Thinking


Drip irrigation made food grow in the Colombian desert. Tomás Suárez moved to the Guayabal community a year ago with seeds to grow food for a year, and some called him crazy as the region suffers a prolonged drought. However, thanks to a drip irrigation system connected to solar-powered pumps, he was able to grow cereals and vegetables (English).



Quote of the Week


“How can you know what you’re capable of if you don’t embrace the unknown?”


-Esmeralda Santiago (1948), Puerto Rican writer and former actress.



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