The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


June 3, 2019 edition– Nicaragua’s oil import law; CUPET’s oil rounds; and the Dominican Republic’s renewable projects.



Last Week in a Minute or Less.


Central America. Nicaragua changed its oil import law; Central American migration may stop with power; and El Salvador’s Bósforo II is finally done.


Greater Antilles. CUPET announced an oil offshore round in June; the DR’s CNE okayed 12 power generation projects; and Jamaica IPO’d like the wind.


Lesser Antilles. Citgo and Aruba are discussing the refinery contract; and Trinidad and Tobago and Shell signed a new LNG deal.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Venezuela hit the gas on oil exports to Cuba; Morgan Stanley is not worried about Guyana’s political uncertainty effect on oil; and more oil companies are exempt from Guyana’s taxes.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Haiti’s oil supply struggle (English); PDVSA’s oil sale (English); and Cambio’s Prepa (English).



Political Economy


The IMF visited El Salvador and Grenada. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said El Salvador’s real GDP is projected to grow at 2.5% in 2019 and inflation is expected to remain flat at 1% (English). Meanwhile, Grenada grew its GDP by 4.5% in 2018 and cut its government debt from 70% to 63.5% (English).


The Dominican Republic placed bonds in the international market. The Finance Ministry said the government placed US$2.5bn bonds (Spanish). One bond was for seven years in the local currency for RD$50.5bn, and the other was in US dollars for 30 years.


Guatemala and South Korea work on energy efficiency. The Korean Energy Agency explained to representatives of the Energy Ministry and the National Commission of Electric Power that with 10 years of power efficient policies, the country could save 40% (Spanish).


China and the US fight over the Dominican Republic’s attention. China’s Embassy in the country accused the US of meddling in its relations with the Dominican Republic (English). The embassy condemned the comments made by the president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation during his visit to the Caribbean nation (English).


Venezuelan negotiations ended with no deal. Venezuela’s government and the opposition finished a round of negotiations held in Norway without an agreement (English). Guaidó said he is willing to participate in further negotiation in the future and called for a transitional government and free elections.



Oil & Gas Upstream


CUPET announced an oil offshore round in June. Unión Cuba-Petróleo (CUPET) will make presentations and data viewing available on June 3-6 at the EAGE conference (English). The licensing round will include 24 blocks, but no specific timetable for the licensing round was available (English)


Morgan Stanley is not worried about Guyana’s political uncertainty effect on oil… Morgan Stanley noted that oil development plans in Guyana are continuing on track despite the pending ruling on the no-confidence vote against the government. Morgan Stanley believes both political parties support the existing oil contracts with ExxonMobil and partners (English).


…and more oil companies are exempt from taxes. The national Assembly approved tax exemptions for the companies working at the Kanuku and Kaieteur blocks (English). Repsol, Total E&P Guyana BV, and Tullow are working to drill the Carapa-1 exploration well, scheduled for the third quarter.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Venezuela hit the gas on oil exports to Cuba. With the limitations of US sanctions, Venezuela increased oil supplies to Cuba. PDVSA sent 1.416 million barrels of crude and products in May to Cubametales (English), while in April, the Cuban state-owned company received 355,000 barrels.


Citgo and Aruba are discussing the refinery contract. Citgo Petroleum and the government of Aruba are negotiating the operating contract on its oil refinery (English). Aruba announced that a committee will be formed to decide the refinery’s fate, expecting to terminate the contract.


Nicaragua changed its oil import law. Nicaragua’s National Assembly approved a reform of the Hydrocarbons Supply Law to allow power generators to import hydrocarbon fuels freely (Spanish). Puma Energy Bahamas had been the main supplier through the refinery, but the plant does not produce enough fuel to satisfy demand anymore.


Trinidad and Tobago and Shell signed a new LNG deal. The government of Trinidad and Tobago and the Dutch company agreed on an enhanced revenue package for the sale of liquified natural gas (LNG) (English). Both parties will continue discussing Trinidad and Tobago’s energy sector development.



Renewables & Electricity


El Salvador’s Bósforo II is finally done. Two out of the three phases of the Bósforo project are done, with seven solar plants generating 70MW and cutting emissions (Spanish). AES El Salvador and the corporation Multi Inversiones (CMI) invested US$64m to develop the second phase of the project.


Greenbriar Capital and Prepa discuss the Montalva solar project. The developer of sustainable real state and the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) negotiate the Montalva Project, a huge solar project. Greenbriar was required to provide a timeline to start construction and the project’s funding sources (English)


More electricity could be the key to slowing Central American migration. Five power and infrastructure projects in southern Mexico and the north triangle of Central America could stop the migration that affects Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Among the projects are a natural gas terminal in Puerto Cortés, Honduras, and a 300MW power plant (Spanish).


The DR’s CNE okayed 12 power generation projects. The National Energy Council (CNE) in the Dominican Republic approved two wind, eight solar, and two thermal provisional concessions, to be built with an investment of US$900m (English). The measure is explained by the change in the renewable energy policy in effect since 2015.


Wigton’s IPO was a success. The subsidiary of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ), Wigton Windfarm, launched the first IPO of a government-owned company in nearly 30 years and was oversubscribed (English). Approximately 31,200 Jamaicans own 11 billion shares in the largest wind energy facility in the English-speaking Caribbean.



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


A Jamaican researcher is studying Caribbean cancer cell lines. Simone Badal McCreath, a biotechnologist researcher, is establishing the first Caribbean cell line—specifically, a Caribbean prostate cancer cell line—and plans to develop more. Sadly, there is only a 10% success rate in establishing these cell lines, which requires cultivating cells from tumors (English).



Quote of the Week


“Success, after all, loves a witness, but failure can’t exist without one.”


– Junot Diaz (1968), Dominican-American writer and professor at MIT. Quote from The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.



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


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