The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


June 11, 2018 edition–St. Vincent geothermal; Venezuela’s exports; and Guatemala’s pipeline.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala calls for pipeline operators; El Salvador will auction 28MW of renewables; and the IMF trusts Panama.


Greater Antilles. Petrojam works on upgrading its refinery, and Puerto Rico’s power is changing.


Lesser Antilles. St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia move forward in geothermal energy; Massy Wood gears up for T&T oil and gas development; and Bermuda signed an agreement to build a 6MW solar PV project on St. David’s Island.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Venezuela is falling behind on oil exports; Suriname hopes to follow Guyana’s success; and the Caribbean is divided on an OAS vote to suspend Venezuela.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Bermuda’s LNG (English); Guyana’s oil production (English); and Guyana’s employment (English).



Political Economy


The IMF visited Panama and answered Barbados. A construction strike lowered the IMF’s projections for Panama for 2018, but the recovery will propel 2019 growth to 5.8% (English). Barbados plans to restructure its public debt, suspend payments to external creditors (English), and receive help from the IMF (English).


A US Republican Senator visited Cuba. Republican US Senator Jeff Flake and Google executive president Eric Schmidt visited Cuba and discussed bilateral relations (English) with President Miguel Díaz-Canel (Spanish). The senator from Arizona assured it is safe to travel to the island despite the restrictions imposed by the Trump administration in 2017.


The Caribbean is divided on an OAS vote to suspend Venezuela. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for Venezuela to be suspended (English) from the Organization of American States. The General Assembly voted with 19 members in favor, four against, and 11 abstained (English).


Haiti’s energy agenda is showing results. After a year, President Jovenel Moïse has promised to offer 24-hour electricity to all Haitians by the end of his term (English). The lack of power constrains economic growth and forces small businesses to use generators.


Bahamians will pitch in. In July, Bahamians will be paying 12% VAT to bring in US$1.1bn in revenue (English) in the next fiscal year. The government is giving Bahamians the unfiltered truth about the state of its public finances, using the people’s money to stabilize its fiscal position and advance an economic vision (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Suriname hopes to follow Guyana’s success. Staatsolie, the Suriname national oil company (NOC), plans to develop its ultra-shallow nearshore resource potential to extend its existing 90MMbbl of onshore reserves (English). The goal is to drill 10 exploratory wells by 2019.


T&T oil and gas developments push Massy Wood to prepare for growth. Massy Wood plans to meet the demand for subsea oil and gas development solutions in Trinidad & Tobago (English). The country already has facilities that can accommodate additional development through subsea tie-backs and tie-ins and step-out drilling.


Oil money benefits 200 Guyanese businesses. Around 227 Guyanese-owned companies have benefited from ExxonMobil’s business in the country, providing dozens of services. The oil giant has provided over GY$10bn to the local economy in 2017 (English) and the first quarter of 2018.


The Caribbean’s oil future is deep under water. Deepwater oil drilling will soon be the next bonanza with oil giants following Exxon Mobil and Hess discoveries. BHP Billiton’s exploration chief said the company will be focusing on the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, looking for the next “super basin” (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Petrojam works on its refinery upgrade. Jamaica advances in the expansion and modernization of Petrojam’s refinery in Kingston, Jamaica. The Energy Minister said the government made an allocation for this year to proceed with the VDU project to produce low-sulfur fuel for the bunkering industry (English).


El Salvador needs more for its LPG subsidy. The Economy Ministry requested the Finance Ministry provide a surplus budgetary reinforcement to finance the LPG subsidy that was given to 1.2 million families. In 2017, the Economy Minister requested a US$73m budget, but only US$62m was approved (Spanish).


Venezuela is falling behind on oil exports. Venezuela is a month behind in shipping crude from its main oil export port and could breach PDVSA’s crude supply contracts (English). Tankers waiting to load 24 million barrels (English) of crude are at the country’s main oil port.


Guatemala calls for pipeline operators. The Energy and Mines Ministry opened up a tender to operate and manage the hydrocarbons transportation system by June 15 (Spanish). Perenco Guatemala Limited operates the pipeline and has transportation capacity for 30,000 daily barrels.



Renewables & Electricity


Geothermal energy progressed in the Caribbean… St. Vincent and the Grenadines set the commercial operation date for its 10MW geothermal project to around June 2021, with drilling to start by January 2019 (English). St. Lucia ministers were updated on the geothermal resource development project and what the government needs to do to advance to the exploratory drilling phase (English).


… and so did solar. Guatemala installed the first irrigation unit using solar energy to pump the water system (Spanish), while Jamaica secured financing for a 37MW solar project (English). Bermuda signed an agreement with Saturn Solar Bermuda 1 to build a 6MW solar PV project on St. David’s Island (English).


El Salvador will auction 28MW of renewables. El Salvador’s government will launch an auction in the next months to provide 20MW in solar and 8MW in biogas energy (Spanish) (English). Between both technologies, an investment of US$58m is expected and the projects will power up 41,000 homes (Spanish).


Puerto Rico’s power sector is transforming. While Puerto Rico has secured financing for the 100MW Montalva solar project (English), Tesla has 11,000 energy storage and solar panel projects (English) on the island. Puerto Rico is seeking “input on the transformation” (English) of the electrical system through private ownership or operation of the Prepa assets.



Old School Social


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



The Conferencia Internacional de Energías Renovables is scheduled for June 14-15 in Panama City.


The Cuba Energy, Oil and Gas Conference will be held June 27-29 at the Meliá Cohiba in La Habana, Cuba.



Lateral Thinking


Caribbean businesswomen get a push. The Caribbean Export Development Agency and the Caribbean Development Bank are working to ease the access to finance for women-owned businesses in the Caribbean (English). Access to finance has been pointed to as one of the largest problems for business expansion.



Quote of the Week


“…the human body is much stronger than we think. It seems to laugh at the cobwebs of despair that the heart weaves before our eyes in order to blind us to our fate. The body walks and goes on walking.”



– Consuelo de Saint-Exupéry (1901-1979), Salvadoran-French writer and artist.



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