The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


March 12, 2018 edition—The DR’s oil tenders; Cuba’s solar farm; and Colombia’s strong economic growth.





Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Costa Rica’s inflation went up and Fitch expects 2.5% growth from El Salvador.


Greater Antilles. The Dominican Republic will offer oil auctions; Cuba will enjoy a new solar farm; and Jamaica needs help to dig for its oil.


Lesser Antilles. Trinidad & Tobago suffered two oil spills; Antigua debates reducing power tariffs; and a former minister is worried about the Grand Bahama refinery.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Venezuela oil production reached a new low; Guyana is reviewing the Oil and Gas Master Plan; and the IMF trusts Colombia’s economic growth.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Jamaica’s investment in power (English); Aruba’s refinery pause (English); and the JPS hybrid facility (English).



Political Economy


The IMF finished the 2018 Article IV Mission in Colombia… The International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Colombian economy is recovering from external and domestic shocks since 2014 that propelled inflation and the external deficit (English). Colombia’s outlook is favorable with 2.7% growth forecasted, thanks to policy easing and higher oil prices.


…and the IMF trusts The Bahamas’ economic growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has high hopes for The Bahamas’ economic growth. The IMF forecasts 2.5% growth (English), an increase from the previous 2.2% prediction.


Saint Lucia will be taken off the EU tax haven blacklist. The European Union will remove Saint Lucia from a list of tax havens next week, leaving six jurisdictions on it (English). The removal was criticized by an anti-corruption watchdog, and lawmakers and activists are expected to criticize it also.


Costa Rica’s inflation went up 2.21% in 2017. Inflation in Costa Rica rose 2.21% in the last twelve months (Spanish). Rent, education, and transportation showed the main cost increases in the past year.


Fitch expects El Salvador will grow less than 2.5%. The international rating agency expects El Salvador’s economic growth to remain under 2.5% in the next two years (Spanish). Fitch pointed to long-term economic and tax challenges as the reason for the conservative forecast.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Jamaica needs help to dig for its oil. The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) is actively seeking investors to drill into the discovery of two oil seeps in northwest Jamaica (English). Tullow Oil Limited will start the first-ever 3D seismic survey (English) off Jamaica’s south coast this month.


Guyana is working on the Oil and Gas Master Plan. The government of Guyana is reviewing the Oil and Gas Master Plan for Guyana, developed and submitted by Mitsubishi Corporation, Chiyoda Corporation, and the Japanese government (English). The plan includes objectives to develop Guyana’s domestic oil industry.


The Dominican Republic will open for oil business in March. The Dominican Republic will open two land blocks for exploration and two offshore blocks for natural gas exploratory drilling (English) by the end of March. The DR expects to attract the attention of oil giants such as BP and ExxonMobil.


Venezuela oil production reached a 40-year low. Venezuela’s oil production hit 1.57 million barrels per day, the lowest level since 1988 (English), excluding the PDVSA strike in 2002 and 2003. Venezuela is expected to finish 2018 around the 1.5 to 1.6 million barrels per day mark.



Oil & Gas Downstream


A former minister is worried about the Grand Bahama refinery. Dr. Michael Darville, former Grand Bahama minister, said he has “great concern” with certain provisions (English) of an agreement signed by the Bahamas government and Oban Energies to build an oil refinery on Grand Bahama.


Mexico and Jamaica may partner up on energy. Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray visited Jamaica, hoping to get Mexican firms to go to Jamaica as oil suppliers and to develop Jamaica’s oil resources (English). The plan is to mitigate the effect that US sanctions on Venezuela may have on regional oil supplies.


Trinidad & Tobago suffered a new oil spill. When the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) investigated an oil spill in the Catshill Field off Moruga, a new spill developed on a six-inch diameter pipeline (English) from Platform Nine to Riser Platform Two in the Main Soldado Field. The leak was immediately isolated.



Renewables & Electricity


JPS kicked off its hybrid energy storage project. The Science, Energy, and Technology Minister announced the start of the construction of the 24.5MW energy storage facility (English) at the Jamaica Public Service’s Hunt Bay plant. The project will cost US$21.6m and will be developed by ABB.


Guyana plans to update the 2016 Power Generation Study. The government of Guyana is planning to update the 2016 study on Power Generation System Expansion to include domestic natural gas (English). The 2018 study will focus on the Guyana Power and Light power networks.


Antigua debates power charge reduction. The leader of the United Progressive Party pledged to reduce the fuel variation charge on electricity by 25% (English). The APUA manager argued that doing so would cause the authority to fail to carry out its obligations.


Cuba will get a new solar farm in Holguín. The first solar park in the Holguín region will be assembled by April and will be ready by July, 2018 (Spanish). The park will be equipped with 17,600 panels and will have a 4.4MW capacity.


Emerald Solar Energy started a DR power project. Emerald Solar Energy commenced the construction of a 25MW PV project in Barahona (English). The project will receive an initial investment of US$40m and will generate enough electricity in a year to power up to 10,000 households.



Old School Social


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


CLER Forum 2018 will be held March 14-16 at the Intercontinental Buenos Aires in Buenos Aires.


The 33rd Congress of the AIGLP is scheduled for March 21-23 at the Windsor Convention & Expo Center in Barra de Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.



Lateral Thinking


Guyana, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago students won the CARICOM energy essay competition. Students from Guyana, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago won the top prizes of the 2017 CARICOM Energy Month Youth Essay Competition (English). Young people from Belize, Grenada, and Guyana won the Young Energy Artist Competition.



Quote of the Week


“El secreto de una buena vejez no es otra cosa que un pacto honrado con la soledad.”


“The secret for a good old age is nothing but an honest pact with solitude.”



-Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014), Colombian writer, editor, and journalist.



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


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