The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


July 29, 2019 edition– Cuba’s refinery; Guyana’s royalties; and Trump menaced Guatemala.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Nicaragua cut the ribbon on a 2.1MW solar plant; the IMF said Panamá is recovering well, but slowly; and Trump threatened Guatemala with fees.


Greater Antilles. Cuba’s Sergio Soto refinery went back to work; Puerto Rico’s governor resigned; and Jamaica’s Old Harbour LNG Terminal will increase its output.


Lesser Antilles. Curacao and Venezuela discussed PDVSA’s possibilities at the Isla refinery.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Analysts questioned Guyana’s decision to raise oil royalties; Naturgy expects a resolution on the Colombian dispute soon; and Venezuela said the blackout was caused by an attack.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Punta Catalina’s production (English), and Puerto Rico’s protests (English).



Political Economy


Puerto Rico’s governor resigned. Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced his resignation after mass protests against him (English). He will continue working until August 2 to allow an orderly transition. The United Retailers Center had asked for the president’s resignation because the time to reflect “has expired” (English).


The WB and the IDB have some recommendations for Latin America’s sustainable development. The IDB has published a study analyzing the challenges that Central America will face seeking sustainable development (English). The World Bank has mobilized US$14.4bn to support sustainable development and poverty reduction (English) in 2019 in Latin American and the Caribbean.


The IMF said Panamá is recovering well, but slowly. The International Monetary Fund said Panamá is still a dynamic economy, but the economic recovery has slowed down more than anticipated, with GDP growing at 3.1% in 1Q2019 (English). The IMF lowered the growth projection for 2019 to 5%.


Trump threatened Guatemala with fees. US President Donald Trump is considering imposing tariffs and remittance fees on Guatemala, as the Central American country decided not to sign a safe third country agreement (English). The agreement would have required Guatemala to take in more asylum seekers.


The EU will fund Belize’s energy. Prime Minister Dean Barrow and the European Union Ambassador to Belize signed a financing agreement of BZD$31.96m for the energy sector (English). The funds will help the country reach its sustainable development goals.



Oil & Gas Upstream


The Liza Destiny FPSO is on its way to Guyana. Guyana’s first floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO), which will be used by ExxonMobil, is moving from Singapore to Guyana and is expected to arrive in September (English). The Liza Destiny was transformed from the oil tanker “Tina.”


The Old Harbour LNG Terminal will increase output. New Fortress Energy’s floating liquefied natural gas terminal off the coast of Old Harbour will increase its output by the end of the year and will reach full output by March 2020 (English).


Guyana and ExxonMobil will offer practical certification. The Energy Department and the US oil giant are discussing steps to ensure that skilled nationals have opportunities to work in the energy sector (English). The department also has an internship program available to youths who have not yet graduated.


Analysts questioned Guyana’s decision to raise oil royalties. Guyana is considering an increase to its oil royalties, but analysts said that an increase above 5% could make returns “significantly less competitive” compared to Brazil or Suriname (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Cuba’s Sergio Soto refinery went back to work. The Sergio Soto refinery, located in Cabaiguán, resumed production after repairing its furnaces (English). The plant is the only one in the country that processes national crude oil.


Jamaica is working to become a bunkering hub. The increase in bunker demand due to the widening of the Panamá Canal gives Jamaica a geographical advantage to develop as a bunker hub. Jamaican bunker suppliers are working to meet the demand of the IMO 2020 regulation (English).


Naturgy expects a resolution on the Colombian dispute soon. The president of the Spanish firm said that the dispute with Colombia over Electricaribe is open to negotiation, but the verdict is expected by the second half of 2020 (Spanish). Colombia expropriated Electricaribe from Naturgy two years ago after fighting over investments and work agreements (Spanish).


Curacao and Venezuela discussed the possibility of PDVSA remaining at the Isla refinery. The prime minister of Curacao and the oil minister of Venezuela discussed the possibility of maintaining PDVSA as the operator of the Isla refinery (English). PDVSA’s contract will expire by the end of the year and the refinery has been looking for partners to replace it.



Renewables & Electricity


Caribbean Cement Company will produce power from old tires. Caribbean Cement Company plans to spend US$9m on capital projects, including the conversion of old tires into energy. The goal is to eliminate the tires in Kingston in four years and to contribute to the environment while reducing fuel costs (English).


The new LNG terminal will push Jamaica close to its renewable energy goal. The new floating storage and regasification terminal has enabled Jamaica to reach its target of 50% of the island’s power coming from clean sources (English). The terminal will reduce energy costs and highlight the country’s goal to protect the environment (English).


Nicaragua cut the ribbon on a 2.1MW solar plant. The hybrid solar and thermal project located on Corn Island received an investment of US$5.9m, becoming the third solar park in the Central American country (Spanish). Enatrel announced the construction of a 50MW solar plant to be developed by EPR Solar.


Venezuela said the blackout was caused by an attack. The Venezuelan government said the national blackout was an electromagnetic attack planned by the US against the Guri dam, the source of 80% of Venezuela’s power (English). The opposition pointed to a lack of maintenance work in the nation’s grid as the cause.



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


Jamaica’s energy companies will invest in students’ scholarships. Jamaica Energy Partners (JEP) and West Kingston Power Partners will devote J$11m to 30 Primary Exit Profile (PEP) achievers and seven tertiary students (English). The students would have to maintain a certain grade average and participate in outreach events.



Quote of the Week


“To know a man properly, you must know the shape of his hurt – the specific wound around which his person has been formed like a scab”


– Kei Miller (1978), award-winning Jamaican blogger.




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