The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


May 28, 2018 edition–Puerto Rico’s microgrid; Akacias’ wells; and Costa Rica’s geothermal.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. A 100MW solar project in El Salvador started operations; Costa Rica bets on geothermal and waste-to-energy solutions; and Guatemala and Nicaragua focus on hydropower.


Greater Antilles. Puerto Rico has new microgrid rules; Jamaica invests in energy efficiency; and Spain and Cuba partnered up “strategically.”


Lesser Antilles. Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire courts lift Conoco’s seizures; the US Virgin Islands plan a hybrid microgrid; and Bahamas and St. Kitts are off of the tax haven blacklist.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Valero increased its Venezuelan crude imports; Ecopetrol and Talisman partnered up in Akacias; and Kosmos will drill a well again in Suriname.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Bermudas’ natural gas plan (English); AES and Barrick’s natural gas deal (English); and Maduro’s oil sale to Cuba (English).



Political Economy


Venezuela held presidential elections with predictable fallout. A CARICOM team observed Venezuela’s presidential elections (English), affected by a mass exodus and hunger (English), which ended with Maduro’s victory (English). The US imposed new sanctions, Venezuela responded by expelling two American diplomats (Spanish), and the US ordered two Venezuelan diplomats to leave (English).


Spain and Cuba partnered up “strategically.” The Spanish secretary of state for international cooperation and for Ibero-America said Spain considers Cuba a “strategic partner” in the region. The goal is to renew the cooperation framework for four years (English) in the autumn.


The European Union will remove Bahamas and St. Kitts from its tax haven blacklist. After the Bahamas and Saint Kitts and Nevis committed to changes, European Union tax officials recommended moving them to a list of jurisdictions with low tax transparency standards (English).


Barbados had a historic landslide election. The opposition Barbados Labor Party (BLP) swept Barbados’ election on May 24, winning all 30 parliamentary seats (English). Mia Mottley will become Barbados’ first female Prime Minister, and it is the first time a single party has held every seat in the legislature.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Kosmos will drill a well again in Suriname. Kosmos Energy Ltd. will respud its first well offshore Suriname, after the Anapai-1 found shallow-borehole stability issues (English). The Ensco DS12 drillship will drill the redesigned Anapai-1A, testing an Early Cretaceous structural-stratigraphic concept on the 5,126-sq-km Block 45.


Ecopetrol and Talisman partnered up in Akacias. Ecopetrol and Repsol’s Talisman Energy will start drilling 19 new oil wells at the Akacias oil field at the end of May (English) (Spanish). Nine wells are already operating at the field, producing an average of 6,300 barrels per day.


Guyana defended ExxonMobil’s contract. The Guyana government defended the decision to delay the release of oil blocks (English) given to ExxonMobil in its concession offshore Guyana. The Natural Resources Minister dismissed the opinions suggesting it was illegal for Exxon to be granted that many blocks.


The World Bank will give Guyana a hand in oil production. A World Bank-funded energy unit in the Guyana Ministry of Finance will prepare Guyana for major projects. The World Bank mentioned the need for the unit to get a US$1.7m advance of its US$20m loan (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Valero stocked up on Venezuelan crude before the election. Expecting US sanctions after the controversial presidential election, US refiner Valero Energy Corp. increased its imports of Venezuelan crude in recent months. Valero received over 200,000 barrels per day (English) of Venezuelan crude in March and April, the largest monthly volumes since December 2016.


The Transandino pipeline was damaged in a bomb attack. Colombia’s Transandino oil pipeline was damaged in a bomb attack in the municipality of Pupiales, in Nariño province. The 306-km pipeline was not operating at the time of the explosion (English).


Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire courts lifted Conoco’s seizures. Courts in Curacao and Bonaire have partially lifted attachments (English) introduced by ConocoPhillips to seize PDVSA’s assets to satisfy a US$2bn arbitration award. A court in Aruba lifted liens on two oil cargoes (English) put in place by ConocoPhillips as a legal strategy.


Oil prices are expected to soar. The decline of Venezuela’s oil sector (English) and the potential loss of 1 million barrels due to the Iran sanctions could push oil prices above US$100 per barrel. The Chamber of Commerce warned Bahamians to expect high oil prices for the summer (English).



Renewables & Electricity


Geothermal and solar are up in the greater Caribbean… A 100MW solar project in El Salvador started operations (English) while the US Virgin Islands plans to develop a hybrid microgrid, with a solar and battery storage solution (English). Costa Rica okayed a US$500m loan to finance geothermal programs (English) (Spanish).


…and so are waste-to-energy solutions. Total Waste Energy Solutions plans to build a waste-to-energy gasification plant in Costa Rica, including a 28MW plant that can scale up to 96MW (English). A waste-to-energy company is negotiating with Blockchain Puerto Rico to build the first waste-to-energy power plant on the island (English).


Central America focuses on hydro power. Guatemala is tendering the construction and supply (Spanish) of specialized equipment for different hydroelectric plants. A South Korean delegation in Nicaragua is studying the feasibility of large hydroelectric projects (English) and options to use Korean funds to finance their construction and operations.


Puerto Rico’s microgrid rules are out… The Puerto Rico Energy Commission issued the rules ordering PREPA to establish interconnection rules in 120 days (English), establishing the types of microgrids, generation, and the role of utilities and municipalities. Until the final rules are in place, only off-grid cooperative or personal microgrids are legal.


…and it gets ready for hurricane season. Most of the generators brought by the Federal Emergency Management Agency were left in Puerto Rico to keep the lights on in hospitals (English) or police stations. Thousands still have no power while the US federal agency in charge of restoring electricity is leaving the island before hurricane season.


Jamaica bets on energy efficiency, and the Bahamas falls behind. The Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will invest US$2.1m in energy efficient and renewable energy projects (English) in six local healthcare facilities. The Bahamas Power and Light was criticized for failing to produce an acceptable Renewable Energy Plan (English).



Lateral Thinking


Hurricane seasons may get worse. After analyzing the impact of the 22 most recent hurricanes, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) warned future storms will only get bigger, stronger, and wetter (English). The scientists concluded that there is a high probability of more intense hurricanes if they form under warmer conditions.



Quote of the Week


“History is so subjective. The teller of it determines it.”


-Lin-Manuel Miranda (1980), American composer, playwright, and actor of Puerto Rican ancestry.



We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or plans for the hurricane season to


Tell your friends and colleagues about the Weekly Brief! They can sign up for a free one-month trial here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]