The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


June 24, 2019 edition– Colombia’s round; URCA’s guidelines; and Jamaica’s shares.




Last Week in a Minute or Less.


Central America. Panamá increased its power production; and the IMF visited Guatemala.


Greater Antilles. Guaidó and Jamaica disagree over PDVSA’s shares; the Dominican power sector had ups and downs; and Cubans can now check their power bills online.


Lesser Antilles. Atlantic will get back to work soon; URCA published alternative dispute resolution guidelines; and the Curacao refinery needs PDVSA crude badly.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Six compete in the Colombian oil round; Venezuelan sanctions hit Colombian fuel smuggling; and GPL went shopping for power.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the IMF’s report on the Dominican Republic’s economy (English); and the plans for a new natural gas export terminal (English).



Political Economy


The IMF visited Guatemala, Guyana, and Jamaica. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Jamaica’s economic growth in 2018 and 2019 was boosted by construction and mining (English), while Guyana’s GDP grew by 4.1% in 2018 (English). Guatemala’s growth is expected to peak at 3.7% in 2021 (English).


Puerto Rico restructured its debt. Puerto Rico’s Financial Oversight and Management Board said US$35bn of debt was restructured (English). The agreement will reduce commonwealth-related bonds to less than US$12bn, a more than 60% reduction.


The IDB had bad news about Latin American exports. The Inter-American Development Bank said the value of Latin American and Caribbean exports fell by 16% in the first quarter of 2019, compared to the same period in the previous year (English). The reason is lower export volumes and the drop in commodity prices.


CARICOM and Cuba’s friendship is stronger than ever. CARICOM Secretary-General said the Caribbean and Cuba have a “close and friendly relationship” while Cuba’s Foreign Affairs minister said the country has a “permanent debt of gratitude” to the community for its support (English). Both parties discussed trade and climate change.


Haiti’s Economy and Finance Minister is not optimistic. The Economy and Finance Minister explained that global prices have increased at a 1.4% monthly rate and state investments fell by 60% (English). He pointed to social tension as the main reason for the economy’s deterioration.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Six compete in Colombia’s oil round… GeoPark Ltd, Hocol SA, Parex Resources Inc, Ecopetrol SA, Gran Tierra Energy Inc, Frontera Energy Corp, and a consortium of GeoPark and Hocol made offers on 11 oil exploration contracts in Colombia (English). The six companies and ONGC Videsh Ltd handed in 19 offers for the blocks in June.


…and more opportunities are coming. Colombia will include new blocks among the areas offered in 2019, and the final list will be published by August (English). The Colombian National Hydrocarbons Agency approved the farmout agreement between Occidental Petroleum and Amerisur Resources (English).


Guyana’s elections and oil output will coincide. Guyana will have new elections as a regional court upheld the no-confidence vote in the government (English). The election would probably come before oil production, which is expected by 2020.


Atlantic will get back to work soon. The LNG producer in Trinidad and Tobago will resume operations after the facility was shut down by a power cut on June 16 (English). The outage caused changes in the LNG shipping schedule.


Canacol tested Acordeon 1 at the new gas discovery. Canacol Energy published the positive results of Acordeon 1, testing 33 MMscfpd (English). The well will be connected to the Jobo production facility through the Pandereta flow by the end of July, boosting Colombia’s natural gas production.


TPHL extended the notes’ expiration date. Trinidad Petroleum Holdings Limited (TPHL) extended the expiration date to June 21 to exchange the outstanding notes, originally issued by Petrotrin, for newly issued TPHL debt securities (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Guaidó and Jamaica disagree over PDVSA’s shares. The Venezuelan opposition leader asked Jamaica to refrain from seizing PDVSA’s shares in Petrojam (English). Jamaica’s government said the country already owns the 49% stake as legislation was passed in the Senate in February allowing the acquisition (English).


Curacao refinery needs PDVSA crude badly. PDVSA plans to reactivate Curacao’s refinery in July. The company would have to either send 3 million barrels to make enough money to cover expenses from September to December or spend US$60m to fulfill the contract (English).


Canada filled the gap left by Venezuelan crude. In June, 130,000 barrels per day of heavy Canadian crude will leave Texas, four times the average amount exported in the previous year (English). US imports of Venezuelan crude went from 561,000 barrels per day to zero in May.


Venezuelan sanctions hit Colombian fuel smuggling. Border towns in Colombia that have lived off smuggling Venezuelan oil for decades have been affected by US sanctions on Venezuelan oil, seeing gas prices triple in weeks (English). The withdrawal of cheap fuel will affect inflation in the region (English).



Renewables & Electricity


Panamá increased its power production. Panamá generated 3.672 million kwh, a 4.1% increase compared to the 3.526 million offered in the same period in 2018 (Spanish). While renewable production dropped by 38.2%, thermal generation increased by 129%.


GPL went to the mall to buy some power. Facing power outages, the Guyana government approved power purchase agreements with the Giftland Mall (English). The agreements are a corrective measure from GPL to compensate for the damaged submarine cable linking the Vreed-en-Hoop power station to the Kingston facility.


Cubans can now check their power bills online. Through the Web IFA app, Cuban clients can check their power bills and consumption (Spanish). The Web will allow operators to provide a detailed explanation regarding claims and developing changes.


The Dominican power sector had ups and downs this week. An invasion of seaweed shut down Units 1 and 2 of the Itabo power plant, which provides 238MW to the national grid (English). The National Energy Commission and Natural World Energy Corp. (NWEC) signed a contract to build a solar park in Villarpando (English).


What happens if URCA’s alternative dispute resolution guidelines are disputed? The Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) published its proposed Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Guidelines for the Electricity Sector (English). The consultation on the proposed ADR guidelines will end on July 19.



Old School Social


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



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


Baby fish connect world fisheries. Scientists have found that spawning hubs off countries like Barbados feed larvae into many other territories in the global fish network. Certain Caribbean nations, such as Guyana and Suriname, rely on inflowing species, accounting for a third of their employment (English).



Quote of the Week


“I was the one with the open wound, and the river waters turned red when I bathed in them. My sadness is greater than the heavens.”



– Laura Restrepo (1950), Colombian author.



We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or fish networks to


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