The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


May 6, 2019 edition– Trasandino hit again; Grenada’s oil undefined; and Venezuela’s political crisis.



Last Week in a Minute or Less.


Central America. The CNEE changed power tariffs in Guatemala; and El Salvador’s power has debt troubles.


Greater Antilles. The Dominican Republic gave renewables US$182m in tax breaks; the WB is happy with Jamaica’s economic achievements; and Puerto Rico’s power faces constant change.


Lesser Antilles. Grenada’s oil and gas benefits are still undefined; Paria Fuel covered Trinidad & Tobago oil products; and GB power needs to increase to reach its goal.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Guyana’s new oil findings are similar to Liza’s; the Trasandino pipeline was again under attack; and Venezuela’s impasse heated up.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in AES’ future in Puerto Rico (English).



Political Economy


The IMF is enjoying Colombia’s economic momentum. The International Monetary Fund said Colombia’s GDP growth strengthened in 2018, reaching 2.7%. The IMF expects Colombia’s economy to grow around 3.6% in 2019 and 2020, thanks to policy accommodation, tax reform, and infrastructure spending (English).


Venezuela’s impasse heated up. The opposition leader Juan Guaidó launched an attempted military uprising, asking supporters to take the streets (English). The UN showed concern over reports of excessive use of force against demonstrators (English), and US President Trump said he is monitoring the situation and reiterated his support for Guaidó (English).


The WB is happy with Jamaica’s economic achievements. The recently appointed World Bank President for Latin America and the Caribbean congratulated Jamaica on its macroeconomic achievements, such as the fiscal adjustments and the “spectacular reduction of its debt” from 150% to below 100% this year (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Guyana’s new oil findings are similar to Liza’s. A top Hess executive said the new discovery Yellowtail contains fluids similar to those of the initial find in Guyana (English). Yellowtail is the fifth discovery in the Turbot area.


Repsol and Venezuela will swap fuel for debt. The Spanish company maintained the debt-for-oil arrangement with PDVSA, receiving one cargo a month thanks to its Petroquiriquire joint venture (Reuters – English). Five cargos from the Cardon block are also related to the deal.


Grenada’s oil and gas benefits are still undefined. The Energy Ministry explained that no infrastructure is set to benefit from the oil and gas discovered in 2017. The GPG has the only license to produce hydrocarbons in the zone and has to build three more wells to determine the location of the production well (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Venezuela’s crude exports are finally up. PDVSA will export 955,000 barrels per day of crude in April, up from the 843,000 barrels per day exported in March. Asian refiners are importing 82% of April’s shipments, 786,000 barrels per day (English).


Paria Fuel covered Trinidad & Tobago oil products. During the first two months of 2019, Paria Fuels imported 448 million liters of oil products that were previously supplied by the Pointe a Pierre refinery (English). Most of the fuel went to the Trinidad and Tobago market.


US MTBE exports were hit by US sanctions on Venezuela. As Venezuela has lowered its purchase of MTBE due to US sanctions, the price of the product has dropped (English). Mexico, Chile, and Venezuela have been the buyers of US MTBE for years, importing 65.7%, 18%, and 13.5% of US MTBE exports in 2018.


NESTE also suffered from Venezuela oil sanctions. The Finnish company’s quarterly profits fell as US sanctions against Venezuela have affected crude oil supply to its Nynas joint venture (English). Neste holds a 49.99% stake in Nynas through a joint venture with PDVSA.


The Trasandino pipeline was again under attack. The Colombian oil pipeline was bombed in Casas Frias, the Pupiales municipality in the Nariño province, spilling crude into the La Piñuela stream (English). The pipeline was not in operation when the attack took place.



Renewables & Electricity


The CNEE changed power tariffs. Guatemala’s National Commission of Power Energy (CNEE) explained that the increase in international fuel prices, exchange rate, and cut in hydropower due to the drought pushed power tariffs up. The CNEE’s tariffs from May to July have hit the Wholesale Electricity Market by 45% (Spanish).


GB power needs to increase to reach its goal. Grand Bahama Power Company would need to have a solar energy plant that is 20 times the size of the current plant to reach the “30 by 30” renewable goals established by the government (English). The company would need around 300 acres.


El Salvador’s power is in debt trouble. The Executive Hydropower Commission of Lempa River (CEL) paid electricity distributors US$13.5m, less than the required US$81.1m (Spanish) to cover energy consumed by the National Administration of Aqueducts and Sewage System (Anda). The distribution company DELSUR will disconnect the power supply for ANDA pumping plants due to the debt (Spanish).


The Dominican Republic promoted renewables with US$182m in tax breaks. The implementation of Law 57-07 has allowed the Dominican Republic to promote renewable energy, contributing to the development of the country. Due to the law, the state hasn’t collected US$182m in tax breaks (English).


Puerto Rico’s power faces constant change. Puerto Rico published requests for qualifications for two public-private partnerships to develop, manage, and operate peaking units and hydroelectric power plants (English). Prepa expects a restructuring agreement to be reached soon with creditors to put the company into receivership (English).


Wind farm in Costa Rica changes hands. MPC Capital has purchased the Tilawind plant for USD $50M (English). It follows the acquisition of a photovoltaic park in Jamaica, as renewable energy opportunities in the Caribbean keep gathering pace.


Montserrat will have its first solar project. The Communications, Works, Labour and Energy Ministry and Montserrat Utilities Limited announced the first big renewable energy project. The rooftop solar project will contribute with 10% of the grid’s peak day demand (English).



Old School Social


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


The dialogue on Prospects for Energy Resource Development in Latin America will be held May 10 at Inter-American Dialogue, in Washington, DC.


The 62º Congreso Internacional de Agua Saneamiento, Ambiente y Energías Renovables is scheduled for May 29-31 at the Centro de Convenciones Hotel las Américas in Cartagena, Colombia.



Lateral Thinking


Caribbean lizards are different than on the mainland. Tree lizards in the Caribbean spend the day performing behavioral “thermoregulation,” looking for shade or warm sunshine in the trees, regulating their body temperature and slowing down the evolution of the creatures due to a change in environment (English).



Quote of the Week


“The end product towards which we strive is the building up of a society which will guarantee to all freedom and opportunity to develop himself or herself to the utmost of his capabilities.”



– Sir Randol Fawkes (1924-2000), Bahamian politician and trade unionist.



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