The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


July 16, 2018 edition–T&T’s spill; Ecopetrol’s discovery; and Puerto Rico’s dam.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Nicaragua was sanctioned due to human rights abuses; fuels dominate El Salvador’s imports; and Honduras’ Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica will auction 240MW.


Greater Antilles. China brought technology for Cuba’s oil production; Puerto Rico slowed the Carraízo Dam project; and Haiti protested higher fuel prices.


Lesser Antilles. A broken T&T well spewed oil and gas; Antigua and Barbuda’s government and GreenTech Solar partnered up; and the IMF is hopeful about Trinidad & Tobago’s economy.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Ecopetrol found gas and oil in Cundinamarca; Exxon guarantees systems to prevent oil spills in Guyana; and Trump considered a “military option” for Venezuela.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in BPL’s renewable framework (English); the Bahamas’ digital governance (English); and the reopening of St. Croix’s oil refinery (English).



Political Economy


The US sanctioned Nicaraguan officials. The US Treasury sanctioned three Nicaraguan officials for alleged corruption and human rights abuses during political protests (English). Since April, more than 100 people have died in clashes with Nicaraguan police during protests against Daniel Ortega.


Trump considered invading Venezuela. In August 2017, President Trump discussed military intervention in Venezuela (English) with US advisors, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, and other leaders in the region. Trump’s threat of a “military option” propelled Maduro’s support (English).


The Cepal and ECLAC studied the Caribbean’s FDI. The Cepal found that in Latin America and the Caribbean, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was reduced for a fourth year in 2017, reaching US$161.6bn (Spanish). The UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) estimates that FDI dropped by 20% since 2011 (English).


The IMF expects good things for Trinidad & Tobago. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Trinidad & Tobago’s economy showed improvement in the second half of 2017 and positive growth is expected in 2018 (English). Moreover, the fiscal deficit reversed its upward trend of the past seven years.


Guatemala and South Korea reached an impasse in free trade negotiation. Guatemala cannot continue with the negotiations to adhere to the free trade agreement that South Korea and the rest of Central American countries signed in February (Spanish). Negotiations stopped in February 2017 when both countries started translating the agreement.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Ecopetrol found black gold in Cundinamarca. Ecopetrol discovered oil in the Bufalo-1 well in the Valle Medio del Magdalena, in the department of Cundinamarca, Colombia; the finding confirmed the presence of dry gas and light crudes (English). Ecopetrol has a 51% interest in Bufalo-1.


A T&T well ruptured, spewing oil and gas in the Paria Gulf… The Energy Ministry requested overseas help after an oil well ruptured in the Gulf of Paria, spewing oil and gas (English). Petrotrin does not have the technology to cap the well.


…and Exxon guarantees systems to prevent oil spills in Guyana. The oil giant is prepared, with all systems in place, to prevent an oil spill on Guyana’s coasts (English). After T&T’s spill, stakeholders raised questions at an Environmental Protection Agency meeting of the EEPGL Liza Phase 2 project.


China bets on Cuba’s oil production. The Chinese oil company Great Wall will bring powerful equipment and technology to develop Cuba’s oil production (Spanish). The Energy and Mines Minister has hope for block nine, close to the Varadero field, Cuba’s biggest field in production.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Haiti protested the fuel price hike. A day after announcing higher fuel prices, Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant announced the temporary suspension of the increases due to violent protests (English). Protests continued after the price hike was cancelled, and certain airlines cancelled their flights to the capital.


Conoco wants to bring Citgo into the fight with PDVSA. ConocoPhillips is deposing Citgo Petroleum in the legal battle against Venezuela’s PDVSA (English) to enforce a US$2bn arbitration award against Venezuela’s nationalization of Conoco’s assets. Conoco claims certain asset transfers were designed to limit its efforts to be paid.


Fuels dominate El Salvador’s imports. The manufacturing industry devoted to oil refining, plastics, chemicals, etc., came to US$4bn, 86.5% of El Salvador’s imports. Fuel refining products amount to US$684.2m of the imports (Spanish), increasing from the previous year by US$129.6m.


The NGC will work on the Curepe Interchange pipeline. Trinidad & Tobago’s National Gas Company (NGC) will develop pipeline construction works at the Curepe Interchange (English). The NGC will follow the environment, safety, and security policies and procedures, including all the codes and standards.



Renewables & Electricity


Power auctions are in style in Central America and the Caribbean. Honduras’ Empresa Nacional de Energía Eléctrica will auction 240MW of capacity and complementary services (Spanish). Renewable energy projects will be awarded through auctions in the Dominican Republic (English) (Spanish).


Puerto Rico hit the brakes on the Carraízo Dam. The Puerto Rico Energy Commission (PREC) decided not to expedite the Carraízo Dam Hydroelectric Generation Rehabilitation project (English). The proposed project was considered crucial to cut energy costs for the Puerto Rico Aquaduct and Sewer Authority (Prasa).


Hurricane season hit the Dominican Republic’s power users. Empresa Distribuidora de Electricidad del Este said electrical storms and rains have produced failures in the power system (Spanish). EdeEste said 138,948 clients were affected.


French Guyana and Antigua and Barbuda will shine brighter. Hydrogene De France (HDF) will build a large-scale energy storage project in French Guyana (English). Antigua and Barbuda’s government signed a contract with GreenTech Solar to deliver a 10MW solar, wind, and energy storage system (English).


Funds pour into Caribbean renewables. Japan will provide US$17.8m (English) to finance renewable energy development in Georgetown, Guyana. The UNDP and Haiti’s Environment Ministry advised private project developers on gaining access to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) (English).



Old School Social


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


The 5th Geothermal Congress for Latin America and the Caribbean will be held July 17-18 at the Hilton Reforma in Mexico City.



Lateral Thinking


NASA watched cyclone Beryl from afar. The Global Precipitation Measurement mission (GPM) gathered information on the remnants of tropical cyclone Beryl passing through Windward Islands (English). GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.



Quote of the Week


“Democracy, finally, rests on a higher power than Parliament. It rests on an informed and cultivated and alert public opinion. The Members of Parliament are only representatives of the citizens. They cannot represent apathy and indifference. They can play the part allotted to them only if they represent intelligence and public spiritness.”



– Eric Williams (1911-1981), the first Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.



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