The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


June 17, 2019 edition– The Dominican Republic’s oil round; Parex and Ecopetrol’s discovery; and Montecristi’s wind.



Last Week in a Minute or Less.


Central America. Nicaragua asked Russia to invest in renewables; El Salvador promises to work hand-in-hand with the private sector; and Central America’s new customs system continues failing.


Greater Antilles. The Dominican Republic will hold its first oil round; Jamaica will modernize meters; and Montecristi will rely on wind farms.


Lesser Antilles. Belco took a stand on natural gas and power lines; the WB is giving Saint Vincent and the Grenadines a hand; and Shell will pay TT$10bn to Trinidad and Tobago.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Parex and Ecopetrol struck oil; the US is considering secondary sanctions on Venezuelan oil; and Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas is counting down the days to start drilling in Guyana.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Panamá’s natural gas plant (Spanish); and Haiti’s fund to install mini-grids (English).



Political Economy


El Salvador promises to work hand-in-hand with the private sector. The President of the Republic, Nayib Bukele, pledged to work with the private sector to increase investment in the country. The private sector asked for clear rules to know what they can and cannot do and to lower power tariffs (Spanish).


Central America’s new customs system continues failing. On May 7, the Unique Central American Declaration (Duca) was implemented, but the system crashed and impacted regional trade. A month later, problems with Duca persist, affecting the logistical chain in El Salvador and the region (Spanish).


The WB is giving Saint Vincent and the Grenadines a hand. The World Bank approved a US$30m Development Policy Credit to strengthen Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ climate and fiscal resilience (English). The goal is to build a more resilient economy and buffers to face natural disasters.


The IMF is ecstatic with the Dominican Republic’s growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said the Dominican Republic grew at 7% in 2018 thanks to private investment and consumption responding to monetary stimulus. The IMF forecasts 5.5% growth in 2019 due to a less favorable external environment (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


The Dominican Republic will hold its first oil round. The Energy and Mines Ministry announced the first licensing round will open on July 10 and close in December 2019. The country is offering a combination of 14 onshore and offshore blocks in the Cibao, Enriquillo, Azua, and San Pedro basins (English).


Parex and Ecopetrol struck black gold. Parex and Ecopetrol announced the discovery of two formations in the Andina Norte-1 exploration well in Arauca, Colombia (English). The formations offered a combined 3,406 barrels per day of light crude oil and 5.8 MMcf per day of natural gas in multiple days of the testing period.


Shell will pay TT$10bn to Trinidad and Tobago. Royal Dutch Shell agreed to pay TT$10bn over the next nine years after signing the deal (English). Trinidad and Tobago also asked the Dutch company to study development options for a natural gas field in the maritime border with Venezuela (English).


Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas is counting down the days to begin drilling offshore Guyana. Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas is waiting on the Stena Forth drillship to arrive in Guyana from West Africa on June 24 (English). The Jethro Lobe exploration well is scheduled to spud on June 26.



Oil & Gas Downstream


The US is considering secondary sanctions on Venezuela’s oil. The Trump administration is still considering applying secondary sanctions on PDVSA’s petroleum flows. Analysts estimate the effect of the secondary sanctions would be minimal, just closing some loopholes that Venezuela can still employ (English).


A billionaire wants to bring “freedom gas” from Philly to the Caribbean. Wes Edens, a billionaire co-founder of Fortress Investment Group, plans to export US natural gas throughout the Caribbean (English). The plan is to build a storage terminal at a former explosives factory near Philadelphia to export liquid fuels to the Caribbean (English).


Fuel prices dropped in Panamá and the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic’s Industry and Commerce Ministry said fuel prices will fall between RD$4 and RD$7.8 (Spanish). Panamá will enjoy savings of 0.029 dollars per gallon of gasoline and 0.039 for diesel (Spanish).



Renewables & Electricity


Prepa asked for an extension. The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) asked for an extension to submit the utility’s integrated resource plan to the Energy Bureau (PREB). The regulator allowed the request but warned Prepa that further delays would mean fines of US$25,000 per day (English).


Dominican power companies have no explanation for blackouts. The Dominican Republic’s power companies (ADIE) said that there is more than 270MW available if needed to enter the market to help meet the power demand (English). The current gap between demand and supply was considered a planning problem.


Belco took a stand on natural gas and power lines. Belco and the Corporation of Hamilton disagreed over who should pay to move power lines underground (English). Belco clarified that the newly installed engines run on fuel oil or natural gas (English).


Jamaica will modernize meters. JPS is investing over US$80m in smart meters, providing fewer estimations, real-time consumption information, and increased efficiency in providing service. So far, JPS has covered 23% of its customers, deploying 150,000 smart meters (English).


Nicaragua asked Russia to invest in renewables. The advisor to Nicaragua’s presidency looked for investments in the Russian market to boost hydropower projects (Spanish). The goal is to obtain the expertise of Russian companies in the field.


Montecristi will rely on wind farms. Pecasa started operations in the Montecristi province of the Dominican Republic with a 50MW wind park, powering 150,000 homes (Spanish). With this farm, renewable energy now contributes 351MW to the national power system.



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


The ocean’s color is a clue for climate change scientists. Scientists are studying microscopic sediments to better predict climate change (English). Equations are relating color to temperature, transforming satellite images into heat maps.



Quote of the Week


“Love is like the rain. It comes in a drizzle sometimes. Then it starts pouring and if you’re not careful, it will drown you.”



– Edwidge Danticat (1969), Haitian-American novelist and short story writer. Quote from Breath, Eyes, Memory.



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