The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


June 10, 2019 edition– EOG drilling in T&T; Guatemala’s sugar crash; and Colombia’s oil spill.



Last Week in a Minute or Less.


Central America. Panamá NG Power plant runs into trouble; the OAS decided on Nicaragua; and renewables worked less in Guatemala in May.


Greater Antilles. Cuba is tightening its oil belt; and the OGEF will finance Haiti’s mini-grids.


Lesser Antilles. EOG and BP have high hopes for Trinidad & Tobago; the Bermuda Electric Light Company will be purchased by a Canadian group; and the IMF expects slow growth from Aruba.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. An oil spill forced Ecopetrol to close a pipeline section; Canacol Energy is getting ahead on the Colombian natural gas market; and the Transparency Institute of Guyana questioned ExxonMobil’s contract.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Citgo and Aruba’s talks (English).



Political Economy


The CDB forecasts economic growth for the region. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) predicted economic growth of more than 2% for its borrowing member countries (English), despite the deceleration in global economic activity. The Caribbean could be affected by Brexit, the economic slowdown in China, and its vulnerability to weather catastrophes.


The IMF visited Aruba. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Aruba’s growth slowed to 1.2% in 2018. In 2019, Aruba’s fiscal consolidation plan is expected to lower GDP growth to 0.7% (English).


The OAS decided on Nicaragua. The Organization of American States (OAS) published a resolution reiterating “the concern of the inter-American community for the deterioration of democratic institutions and human rights in Nicaragua” (English). The resolution was approved with 20 votes in favor, 3 against, and 10 abstentions.


St Kitts-Nevis expects less from new citizens this year. According to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), St Kitts and Nevis will suffer a 29% drop in revenue in 2019 (English). The decline is explained by a drop in non-tax revenue, mainly Citizenship by Investment (CBI) receipts, although it remains the main revenue category.



Oil & Gas Upstream


EOG keeps its hopes up in Trinidad & Tobago… The CEO of EOG met Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley and presented its exploration and production plans in Trinidad and Tobago for the next year and beyond (English). EOG said that the Caribbean nation remains an important part of its portfolio (English).


…and Trinidad & Tobago also met BP. In June, the government of Trinidad and Tobago and BPTT will discuss restructuring Atlantic LNG and speeding up field operations and exploration (English). BP recently announced that the company might not be able to supply natural gas for Atlantic LNG’s Train 1.


JHI Associates and Mid-Atlantic Oil & Gas clarified the Canje Block award. JHI Associates and Mid-Atlantic Oil & Gas clarified that the Canje Block was awarded on March 4, 2015, before the beginning of the Liza-1 well drilling on March 5, 2015 and the significant discovery on May 20, 2015 (English).


The Transparency Institute of Guyana questioned ExxonMobil’s contract. The Transparency Institute of Guyana has published a series of articles criticizing the government’s contract with Esso Exploration and Production Guyana Limited, ExxonMobil’s subsidiary (English). The institution declared the contract to be the result of either “grand corruption or grand incompetence.”



Oil & Gas Downstream


Cuba is tightening its oil belt… US sanctions have increased Cuba’s oil deficit to 35,000 barrels per day (English). Cuban officials did not name the current sources of oil imports, but apparently Venezuela is still supplying the island.


…and Venezuela’s oil exports dropped. PDVSA’s oil exports fell 17% in May due to the difficulty in selling crude previously purchased by US refiners (English). PDVSA shipped 33 cargoes of crude and fuel, mainly to Asia.


An oil spill forced Ecopetrol to close a section of pipeline. Ecopetrol closed the valves on a section of the Caño Limón pipeline as crude oil was found in the Cobaria river in the Boyacá province (English). The causes of the incident are unclear, and the company will investigate.


Canacol Energy is getting ahead on the Colombian natural gas market. Canacol Energy is becoming the largest supplier of gas in Colombia, where demand is expected to grow by 3% annually until 2025 (English). Canacol has become the only active explorer to provide natural gas to thermoelectric generators and the industrial sector.



Renewables & Electricity


The Panamá NG Power plant ran into trouble. The permit that was requested by Panamá NG Power and approved was for a total generation capacity of 130MW, while the project considers the construction of a 670MW plant (Spanish). The project would be built along side the Panama Canal.


The Bermuda Electric Light Company will be purchased by a Canadian group. Ascendant Group, which owns the Bermuda Electric Light Company, accepted a bid of US$365m from Algonquin Power & Utility Corporation (English). Bermuda’s Home Affairs Minister said “there are considerable steps before” the sale is finalized.


Guatemala’s renewables lost their sugar high in May. Renewables contributed 38.16% of Guatemala’s power in May, a big drop from April’s renewables share of 59.39% (English). As the sugarcane harvest season is ending, power generation from bagasse dropped from 32.56% to 8.75%.


Caribbean utilities must go green. Caribbean utility leaders agreed that utility companies need to build a new business model that includes digitalization, decarbonization, and decentralization (English). The goal would be to transform the energy sector with emerging technologies and more renewable energy sources.


The OGEF will finance Haiti’s mini-grids. The Off Grid Electricity Fund (OGEF), created by the Haitian government and the World Bank, will invest US$17.22m in mini-grids and pay-as-you-go solar (English). The goal is to bring power to 200,000 Haitian households.



Old School Social


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


The 22nd Annual Central American Energy Conference will be held June 20-21 at the Hilton Panama Hotel, in Panama City.


The CLER Forum 2019 is scheduled for June 26-27 in Buenos Aires.


The 6th Geothermal Congress for Latin America and the Caribbean will be held July 17-18 at the W Santiago, in Santiago.



Lateral Thinking


Invasive lizards aren’t just a problem for Tokyo or Boston. Researchers studied how the native brown anole population reacted in 16 Caribbean islands with the arrival of invasive species (English). In certain cases, the atmosphere of fear created by the introduced predators drove the anole population to extinction.



Quote of the Week


“We Creoles are so different, one from the other, that it’s hard for us to mix properly amongst ourselves, let alone among Carib people who have a lot more things in common. Maybe its because Carib people remind us of what we lost trying to get up in the world.”



– Zee Edgell (1940), Belizean-born American writer. Quote from Beka Lamb.



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