The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


March 4, 2019 edition–Martinique’s wind; Colombian pipeline attacked; and BPTT’s gas.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. The IMF visited Costa Rica; and Central America multiplies its clean energy.


Greater Antilles. The Petrojam crisis deepens; PREPA’s privatization plan discussed unionized workers; and Punta Catalina came online.


Lesser Antilles. BP started gas production in Angelin; The Bahamas discussed oil exploration; and Martinique cut the ribbon on a wind park with more to come.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Colombia is the big winner with US sanctions on Venezuela; PDVSA offered spot crude for March; and Colombia’s Mansoya Orito pipeline was attacked.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Aruba’s refinery rehab (English); Honduras’ power auction (Spanish); and OWTU’s plans (English).



Political Economy


The IMF visited St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Costa Rica. The International Monetary Fund concluded that the economy of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has been recovering thanks to tourist arrivals (English) and expects GDP growth to reach 2.3% in 2019. Costa Rica will improve when the fiscal reform bill is approved (English).


The Bahamas and Moody’s are cautious. Moody’s recommended further restraint in public spending as The Bahamas’ government is expected to miss its 1.8% deficit target (English). Deputy Prime Minister K. Peter Turnquest warned that The Bahamas is on the right path but “hasn’t arrived yet” (English).


Violence erupted on Venezuela’s border. The delivery of aid into Venezuela from Colombia was stopped by violence between the National Guard and demonstrators (English). US State Secretary Mike Pompeo maintained a military option is still open (English), and the US imposed new sanctions on Venezuela (English).


Cuba voted on a revised constitution. The new constitution provides legal standing for Castro’s economic reforms, recognizing private property and the business sector (English). Cuba rejected a proposal to legalize same-sex marriage.



Oil & Gas Upstream


BP started gas production in Angelin. BP Trinidad and Tobago is working on its first gas production from its Angelin development, which was delivered on time and under budget (English). The Angelin development includes four wells and a new platform with a capacity of 600 MMscfd.


The Bahamas discussed oil exploration. The Bahamas government plans an extension of its four licenses until the end of 2020 (English). The government has been “locked into” various oil exploration obligations from the previous government (English).


US sanctions hit Venezuela’s oil output…US sanctions could affect heavy oil joint ventures in the Orinoco Belt and fields operated by PDVSA in Lake Maracaibo and the Maturin Basin (English). The Orinoco output will see a decline of 400,000 barrels per day due to the embargo on diluent exports to PDVSA.


… and Colombia is the big winner. US Gulf refiners are increasing Colombian crude prices with the US sanctions on Venezuelan imports (English). Ecopetrol’s exports of crude shifted last year toward China and India (English).


A Colombian tribe accused Amerisur of river pollution. The Siona community accused Amerisur of polluting the Piñuña Blanco, a river they use daily, allegedly causing fever and vomiting (English). Amerisur denies the allegations, assuring the company complies with environmental regulations.



Oil & Gas Downstream


PDVSA offered spot crude for March. Due to US sanctions, PDVSA is offering 5.8 million barrels of crude oil and diluted spot crude (English). Traditional customers did not submit bids for nine shipments planned between March and June.


Colombia’s Mansoya Orito pipeline was on fire. A bomb attack caused a fire on the Mansoya Orito pipeline in the Putumayo province in Colombia (English). The pipeline was not operating during the attack and it is unknown when it will return to service.


Ecopetrol sent crude to the East. The state-led oil company exported to Asia a rare cargo of 300,000 barrels of heavy sour Mares Blend crude with 1.55 million barrels of heavy sour Castilla Blend from Covenas port (English). Mares Blend typically has 18.95 API gravity.


The Petrojam crisis deepens. Energy Minister Fayval Williams defended the government’s decision to shut down Petrojam’s refinery portfolio if its infrastructure is not updated (English). According to a report, Petrojam’s staff complement would be reduced to 30% of its current figure.



Renewables & Electricity


The Bahamas imported tax-free solar kits. The government defended the renewable energy taxation policies, saying that BS$2.21m of solar systems entered The Bahamas duty-free since July (English). The Ministry of Finance confirmed that solar kits can be imported tax-free once it approves the application.


Martinique cut the ribbon on a wind park and plans more. The Beauséjour wind park was opened and will produce 37GWh per year on average (French). By 2020, a new wind project will be developed in the northern area of the island.


The PREPA privatization plan discussed unionized workers. The energy policy bill that amends the privatization plan for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) is being discussed. The debate includes whether the future private owners would have to maintain the PREPA collective bargaining agreements with labor unions (English).


Punta Catalina came online. The first unit of the Dominican Republic’s Punta Catalina power plant went online with 36.5MW to the national grid (SENI) (English). The SENI registered the output and the tests will continue with small injections of energy until reaching 337MW.


Central America has more clean energy than not. The Latin American Organization of Energy said the installed capacity of renewable energy surpassed non-renewables (Spanish). Costa Rica’s clean energy generation reached 84% of the total, followed by Guatemala with 67%.



Old School Social


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


REFFLATAM 2019 will be held March 11 at the South Beach Hotel in Miami.


RECAM is scheduled for March 12-13 at the Hilton Panamá Hotel in Panama City.


Solar Power Florida will be held March 12-13 at the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach in Ft. Lauderdale.


The 2nd Annual Guyana International Petroleum Business Summit & Exhibition 2019 is scheduled March 26-28 at the Guyana Marriott Hotel in Guyana.



Lateral Thinking


PCJ reaches 720 schools through the Schools Energy Program. The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) celebrated the 15th anniversary of its Schools Energy Program, which has reached 8,700 students (English) from 720 schools. The program includes presentations from industry professionals and educational tours of energy generating facilities.



Quote of the Week


“Good poetry is like effective prayer, it feeds the human spirit.”



– Lorna Goodison (1947), Jamaican poet.



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