The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


May 14, 2018 edition–Nicaragua’s renewables; Bahamas’ oil exploration; and Haiti’s service stations.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. The IDB will fund Nicaragua’s renewables; and EDP got the environmental permit for its power line in El Salvador.


Greater Antilles. Total sold its service stations in Haiti; Jamaican drivers still pay for discontinued oil hedges; and Puerto Rico’s utility gained interest.


Lesser Antilles. Bahamas is negotiating an oil exploration partnership; and Antigua and Barbuda wants to access the EIB.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. ConocoPhillips wants Venezuela’s oil assets; Guyana and Suriname show oil promise; and Amerisur cut Colombia’s production.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Punta Catalina’s progress (English); Bermuda’s feed-in tariff (English); and Guyana’s well (English).



Political Economy


The IMF visited Guyana. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Guyana’s economic growth slowed in 2017 as the GDP grew 2.1%, down from 3.4% in 2016 (English). The IMF forecast 3.4% economic growth for 2018.


Guatemala wants free trade agreement with Israel. To strengthen trade relations with Israel, the Economy Ministry will suggest that authorities sign a free trade agreement (Spanish). The trade balance will lean towards Guatemala, mainly due to farm products, if the agreement is reached.


Antigua and Barbuda wants to access the EIB. Antigua and Barbuda is trying to regain access to development financing (English) available through the European Investment Bank (EIB). Antigua and Barbuda has enjoyed several developments over the years financed through the EIB.


The UN is studying the repatriation of Venezuelans from T&T. The United Nations plan to send a team to Trinidad & Tobago to investigate the repatriation of 82 Venezuelans on April 20. The Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, Dr. Keith Rowley, complained about the “misinformed” comments of a UN official (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Pence criticized Venezuela’s election and suggested sanctions… US Vice President Mike Pence described Venezuela’s presidential election as “a fraud and a sham.” Pence implied the elections may trigger new oil sanctions (English) to pressure the Maduro regime.


…and ConocoPhillips wants a piece of Venezuela’s offshore pie. The oil giant pressed for control of Venezuela’s key offshore operations in the Caribbean, seeking to recover US$2bn from a dispute with Venezuela (English). ConocoPhillips is asking a court in the Dutch Antilles for control of facilities that PDVSA operates and Caracas suggested it was ready to pay (English).


Bahamas is negotiating a partnership to explore for oil. The Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) reached an agreement to negotiate a potential exploration partnership to spud a well in waters southwest of Andros (English). A former cabinet minister argued that success in oil exploration would end the Bahamas’ fiscal deficits (English).


Guyana and Suriname show oil promise. Four Liza wells and discoveries at Payara, Snoek, Pacora, Turbot, and Ranger in the Stabroek Block between 2015 and 2018 resulted in potential resource reserves in excess of 3Bbbl (English). Hess’ vice president of exploration sees Guyana as a major growth opportunity within its portfolio.



Oil & Gas Downstream


El Salvador paid more to import fuel. El Salvador’s fuel imports reached US$369m in the first quarter, 11.9% more than in the first quarter of 2017 (Spanish). El Salvador’s central bank explained the increase was due to the rise in international crude oil prices.


Jamaican drivers still pay for discontinued oil hedges. The Finance Ministry avoided questions regarding a tax introduced three years ago (English) to pay for oil hedging contracts. Nothing indicates the Jamaican government eliminated the tax that was expected to pay for the hedges.


Total sold its Haitian service stations. The French oil giant announced an agreement to sell its 92 service stations and general trade fuel sales operations to Bandari Corporation Ltd. Total will remain present in Haiti through a lubricants distribution agreement (English).


Amerisur cut Colombia’s production. Amerisur completed maintenance activities at its Platanillo field in southern Colombia, reducing production to 5,794b/d from 6,476b/d in March (English). The line allows Amerisur to export crude from the Putumayo basin.



Renewables & Electricity


All eyes set on Puerto Rico’s utility. The House Natural Resources Committee’s chair Rob Bishop met with energy company executives in Washington to talk about the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa). Bishop supports the construction of a natural gas facility (English) in Puerto Rico.


Grand Cayman more than tripled its use of renewables. According to the Caribbean Utilities Company, Grand Cayman’s provider increased renewable energy use from 1 million kilowatt-hours to 3.5 million kilowatt-hours (English), a 250% increase from the previous year. The customer base grew to 29,273, an increase of 509 customers compared with 2017.


EDP got the environmental permit for its power line in El Salvador. Energía del Pacífico (EDP) obtained the environmental permits to build a transmission line to carry power from its power plant in Acajutla (Spanish) to the national grid. EDP won the tender to supply 355MW under a long-term contract.


The Dominican Republic and Colombia bet on solar. Colombia published new regulations (English) for small-scale solar power generators of up to 5MW capacity. Aerodom will install solar panel parks in the Dominican Republic airports (English), including 1,670 panels at the Luperon International Airport and 2,640 panels at the Isabela Dr. Joaquín Balaguer International Airport.


The IDB will fund Nicaragua’s renewables. The Inter-American Development Bank approved a US$20m loan (Spanish) to finance renewable energy projects managed by small and medium companies. By 2020, Nicaragua plans to increase the percentage of renewables by 90%.



Lateral Thinking


New fish found in the Caribbean. The University of Washington and the Smithsonian joined forces to identify fish that are still a mystery in the deep reefs in the Caribbean. They have described many new species thanks to the dives. One-third of these Caribbean deep reef fish have no name (English).



Quote of the Week


“You cannot eat a cluster of grapes at once, but it is very easy if you eat them one by one.”


-Jacques Roumain (1907-1944), Haitian writer and politician.



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