The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


March 19, 2018 edition—Colombia’s new solar plant; drilling in T&T; and the Curacaoan refinery’s new contract.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Nicaragua’s GDP is up, reaching 4.9% in 2017.


Greater Antilles. The IMF is disappointed in Jamaica’s economic growth; Cuba’s Nuevitas V thermoelectric unit is running; and the CREES questioned the DR electrical pact’s effectiveness.


Lesser Antilles. Touchstone Exploration will drill in Trinidad & Tobago; the sun could power up Bermuda’s airport; and the World Bank will fund Dominica’s geothermal project.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Colombia will offer up new blocks; Curacaoan refinery may get Venezuelan natural gas; and Colombia’s Celsia Solar Bolívar plant is under construction.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Guyana’s plans to update the 2016 Power Generation Study (English); Guyana’s “Oil and Gas Master Plan” (English); and the DR project in Barahona (English).



Political Economy


Nicaragua’s GDP is up, and the DR’s inflation is down. Nicaragua’s central bank said the country reached its growth goals with a GDP expansion of 4.9% in 2017 (Spanish). The Dominican Republic’s central bank said inflation dropped by 0.11% from January (Spanish), leaving annual inflation at 3.32%.


The IMF is disappointed in Jamaica. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded its 2018 Article IV and Third Review statement, evaluating the considerable progress on macroeconomic policies and outcomes. The IMF said growth and social outcomes were discouraging, averaging 0.9% economic growth (English) since the reforms began.


The EU tax haven conflict continues. The Bahamas discussed how to avoid being placed on the blacklist (English) with the EU. The St. Kitts-Nevis government maintained the island is a “committed and fully cooperative jurisdiction in the context of international tax transparency” (English). Nonetheless, both were added to the list, while Saint Lucia was removed (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Guyana’s business was encouraged to invest in oil and gas. The Chairman of Guyana’s Private Sector Commission urged business members to invest more in the oil and gas industry (English), although with caution. Private investors must be aware of foreign competition at their doorstep.


Colombia will offer up exploration blocks. Colombia plans to award 15 oil blocks next month (English) and will start offering onshore and offshore areas for exploration and production in May. Colombia’s first offering of new areas comes with higher crude prices and an increase in exploration capital.


Touchstone Exploration will drill in Trinidad & Tobago. Touchstone Exploration said an exploration well would start in the coming days (English), as a second drilling rig was secured to explore a separate prospect. The initial well on the Forest Reserve WD-8 will be drilled to a 4,700-foot depth.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Curacaoan refinery looks to Venezuelan natural gas. Operator Refineria Isla Curazao BV gave a contract to Axens SA to perform design work on a project to supply Venezuela’s natural gas to the Curacaoan Isla refinery at Emmastad (English). Axens completed the pre-FEED study for an offshore gas transportation system to Curacao from Venezuela.


Colombia’s crude exports are down. According to S&P Global Platts Friday, Colombia will export 13.8m barrels of crude in March (English), 11% less than in February. About 4.5m barrels are scheduled to be loaded in 12 cargoes out of the port of Covenas in March.


The Pointe-a-Pierre-Caroni pipeline will be ready by June. Trinidad & Tobago’s National Petroleum Marketing Company (NP) announced that the pipeline from the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery to Caroni will be open by the middle of this year (English). The construction of the 34-kilometer pipeline took 11 years and cost T&T$1bn.



Renewables & Electricity


The CREES doubts the DR electrical pact’s impact. The Executive of the Regional Center of Sustainable Economic Strategies (CREES) predicts that the execution of the electrical pact will not solve the power sector’s big problems (Spanish). He also suggested the Punta Catalina carbon plant will not be finished until 2020.


Cuba’s Nuevitas’ fifth unit is running. A fifth block in the Nuevitas, Camagüey thermoelectric plant restarted after being in maintenance for months (Spanish). The third and sixth units will return to service by the end of April.


The sun could power up Bermuda’s airport. A solar farm could power up LF Wade International Airport (English) before the end of the year. The 6MW solar farm will be located at the munitions pier of the airport. When it opens, 13% of peak demand will be satisfied by clean solar power.


The World Bank will fund Dominica’s geothermal project. The World Bank will provide US$17m (English) to develop a geothermal plant for Dominica. Dominica announced plans to establish a 7MW geothermal plant, at an estimated cost of US$40m.


Colombia’s Celsia Solar Bolívar plant is on the way. The second solar park in Colombia is under construction in the municipality of Santa Rosa de Lima. The 8.8MW solar park (English) is part of Celsia’s 250MW solar project pipeline.



Old School Social


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


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


Caribbean birds are listed in the cloud. Many nations in South America and the Caribbean do not conduct official bird surveys, and birders can now submit their lists to eBird, a website to help scientists track bird populations (English) and identify conservation issues. The eBird data is more accurate for common birds.



Quote of the Week


“Everyone has to make peace with the place where they’re born.”



– Angela Barry, Bermudian writer and educator. Quote from Goree: Point of Departure.



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