The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


May 20, 2019 edition– Central America’s geothermal; St Eustatius terminal sale; and Colombian oil reserves.



Last Week in a Minute or Less.


Central America. Central America focuses on geothermal energy; Moody’s warns Nicaragua of the effect of its tax reform; and the IMF and Honduras reached a deal.


Greater Antilles. Jamaica keeps looking for oil; the Mayajigua solar park was connected to the grid; and Puerto Rico will boost clean energy financing.


Lesser Antilles. Enhanced oil recovery was approved at the Innis-Trinity field; BORCO will change hands again; and NuStar Energy sold its St. Eustatius terminal.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. The Orinoco Belt crude production fell; Colombian oil reserves are up and gas reserves down; and Petromil kicked off operations in Colombia.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Puerto Rico’s coal (English); Inde’s natural gas project (Spanish); and ExxonMobil’s plans in Guyana (English).



Political Economy


Pompeo urges Russia to stop backing Maduro. The US Secretary of State met with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, to discuss several international issues. On Venezuela, Pompeo said that Maduro’s time was up, and that countries “interfering” with Venezuela should stop (English), a clear reference to Russia’s increased military personnel in the country.


The IMF had a busy week. The international organization announced a new standby agreement with the Honduran government (English), worth US$311 million. The IMF forecast 3.5% growth for Grenada for 2019, and also reported that Trinidad & Tobago’s economy returned to growth in 2018 (English).


PetroCaribe’s debt is a heavy burden for Grenada. The Finance Ministry announced that the PetroCaribe debt represents EC$372.1m, or 11.5% of the GDP; it is a state-owned enterprise with the highest debt to government (English). PetroCaribe is not functioning due to the current Venezuelan crisis.


Moody’s warns Nicaragua of the effect of its tax reform. The international rating agency said the tax reform would hit the national economy, reducing the government’s income and increasing its debt (Spanish). Moody’s suspects the government would accumulate more debt, hitting its fiscal strength.



Oil & Gas Upstream


The Orinoco Belt crude production cratered. Production by PDVSA and its foreign partners in the Orinoco Belt fell 77% to 169,800 barrels per day from 764,100 barrels per day at the beginning of April, due to the lack of tankers to carry exports (English).


Enhanced oil recovery okayed at the Innis-Trinity field. Columbus has been approved to develop enhanced oil recovery using carbon dioxide injection at the Innis-Trinity field (English). FRAM Exploration is the field operator and Columbus is negotiating with Predator Oil and Gas to execute the project.


Jamaica has not struck oil but has good vibes. The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) confirmed that work is progressing between the corporation and Tullow Oil PLC. Jamaica has not “struck oil” but the process continues in a “positive vein” (English).


Colombian oil reserves are up and gas reserves down. Colombia’s crude oil reserves increased 9.9% in 2018, reaching 1.96 billion barrels following efforts to increase exploration, production, and reserves. Gas reserves went down by 2.9% to 9.8 years equivalent (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


LNG contracts are expected to change. Natural gas and LNG contracts are expected to be shorter than in the past as the global gas market has expanded. LNG growth is projected to reach an annual growth rate of 4% to 2040 (English).


BORCO will change hands again. The Bahamas Oil Refining Company (BORCO) has been purchased for the third time in the past decade. The Buckeye Bahamas oil storage facility and marine terminal will be owned by IFM Investors due to their purchase of Buckeye Partners (English).


NuStar Energy sold its St. Eustatius terminal. NuStar Energy will abandon the Caribbean market after the sale of the company’s St. Eustatius terminal for US$250m to Prostar Capital (English). The deal will close during the second quarter.


Petromil kicked off operations in Colombia. The Colombian oil and gas company began domestic marine fueling operations in April (English). Petromil owns and operates two 8,000-barrel capacity bunker barges.



Renewables & Electricity


Puerto Rico will boost clean energy financing. A not-for-profit organization, Fundación Borincana, is promoting enabling legislation to establish a PACE Program in Puerto Rico (English). The program would allow business and residents long-term, low-cost financing for energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, and other resiliency measures.


Blue Elephant Energy got a majority stake in a Dominican solar park. Blue Elephant AG (BEE) plans to purchase a majority stake in the Montecristi solar park (English). The 116MW plant would be the largest solar plant in the region.


Jamaica will become energy-efficient. The Jamaican government will develop the Energy Management and Efficiency Programme, implemented by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, worth US$1bn (English). The goal is to reduce electricity spend through lighting upgrades, training, and renewable initiatives.


The Cuban Mayajigua solar park was connected to the grid. The 2.5MW solar park was synchronized (Spanish) with the national power system in its trial period. The park is the third located in Yaguajay and will help reduce losses in the transmission lines.


Central America focuses on geothermal energy. In El Salvador, La Geo and the UNU-Geothermal Training Program signed a contract to keep cooperating on geothermal training and knowledge exchange (English). In Nicaragua, the San Jacinto geothermal power plant increased its power generation by 20% (English), according to Polaris Infrastructure’s Q1 reports.



Old School Social


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


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


An archaeologist found answers on Barbados’ pig history. SFU archaeologists have found a peccary’s bone dated to 1645-1670, when the English wrote the account of finding wild European pigs on Barbados. The peccary was probably left on the island by Spanish or Portuguese ships in the 16th century for future visits (English).



Quote of the Week


“Producir arte no es algo esencial, como los alimentos, en arte uno no sabe hasta cuándo, pero hay que seguir produciendo, está fuera del control de uno.”


“To produce art is not something essential, like food; in art, one does not know how long to keep producing, it is out of our control.”


– Belkis Ramirez (1957-2019), Dominican contemporary printmaker and artist.



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


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