The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


November 4, 2019 edition– Cuba’s solar energy; Guyana’s first oil; and AES’ transmission grid.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala will change its power tariffs; AES had a busy week in El Salvador; and Guatemala’s Trecsa doubled its power transportation capacity.


Greater Antilles. AES Dominicana is not convinced of the new natural gas terminal; Cuba’s health will be powered up by the sun; and the Dominican Republic faced some limits to solar expansion.


Lesser Antilles. Antigua will sell shares in WIOC; the UNC will not block the sale of the Petrotrin refinery; and Barbados and The Bahamas have renewables in sight.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Apache has high hopes for Suriname; Ecopetrol will boost oil production by 4%; and Guyana expects its first oil as a Christmas present.



Political Economy


The WTO okayed the CBERA extension. The World Trade Organization (WTO) approved the extension of the waiver of the Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act until September 30, 2025 (English). The act allows duty-free access to the US market for certain Caribbean products.


The IMF forecasts slow growth in the region… The International Monetary Fund said economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean  will slow down to 0.2% in 2019 due to trade tensions, lower global growth, and policy uncertainty (English). The IMF recommended local governments rely on domestic consumption and investment.


…but the IDB trusts the Dominican Republic’s luck. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) said the Caribbean nation’s economy is leading growth in the region (English). The reason for its growth has been the tourist sector and public policies designed to attract investment in the energy and transportation sector.


The EU and the UN are worried for Venezuelan migrants. The European Union and the UN agency in charge of refugees appealed for support for 4.5 million Venezuelan migrants who have gone to neighboring nations trying to escape low wages, a lack of security, and blackouts (English).


Putin and Díaz-Canel discussed a historic friendship. Russian President Vladimir Putin received Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, praising the Caribbean island’s resilience in the face of US sanctions (English). Díaz-Canel considers further economic ties with Russia a top priority for Cuba. Russian-Cuban trade has more than doubled since 2013.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Apache has high hopes for Suriname. Apache hopes to be as lucky as ExxonMobil in finding oil offshore by drilling in Suriname, just seven miles from the Guyana maritime border (English). Apache will have the results of its first test well by the end of November.


Ecopetrol will boost oil production by 4%. Colombia’s state-owned company plans to produce between 740,000 and 760,000 barrels of crude and equivalents per day in 2020, a 4% increase compared to the average production this year (English). Ecopetrol will invest between US$4.4bn and US$5bn this year to boost production and exploration (English).


Venezuela’s oil production was halted by a power crisis. Power outages, along with the US sanctions, continue to paralyze Venezuela’s cities and oil industry (English). Venezuela’s oil production decreased by 82,000 barrels per day from August, remaining at just 644,000 barrels per day in September.


Guyana expects Christmas to bring its first oil. Hess Corporation said its goal is to obtain first oil from the Liza-1 development in Guyana in December (English). Oil production was originally expected to begin in the first quarter of 2020.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Antigua will sell shares in WIOC. The Antigua and Barbuda government will sell 10% of its shares in the West Indies Oil Company (WIOC) (English). The government acquired 51% of the company and decided to lower its ownership to 41% of the shares.


The UNC has no intention to block the sale of the Petrotrin refinery. The United National Congress (UNC) denied that it pushed for legal action against the sale of the Petrotrin refinery (English). Court action was taken by citizens and was subsequently withdrawn.


Guaidó plans to sue over PDVSA’s 2020 bond. Juan Guaidó’s advisors plan to file a lawsuit in New York requesting that PDVSA’s 2020 bond be declared null (English). The PDVSA 2020 bond is expected to go into default.


AES Dominicana is not convinced of the DR’s proposed new natural gas terminal. AES Dominicana’s president said that the idea to build a natural gas terminal and power plant in the northwest of the country is not “very strategic” (English). The president considers it more viable for clean energy to be installed in the area.



Renewables & Electricity


Barbados and The Bahamas have renewables in sight. A Barbadian government minister urged cooperatives to invest in renewable energy, as Barbados plans to be fossil fuel-free by 2030 (English). A renewable energy provider in The Bahamas pointed to “out of sync” government agencies as the main obstacle to the adoption of renewable technology (English).


Cuba’s health will be powered up by the sun. Santiago de Cuba’s health system and hospitals have the biggest solar panel roof installed on the island (Spanish). The project was part of the Cuban Society to Promote Renewable Energy Sources and Environmental Respect and the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for the Development (AECID).


The Dominican Republic faced some limits to solar expansion. Solar installation companies in the Caribbean nation complained about the limitations brought by the interconnection rules for distributed generation (Spanish). The article established a limit of 15% of the main grid’s annual peak demand.


Guatemala will change its power tariffs. After February 2020, small and medium-size businesses that receive EEGSA’s service will have new tariffs depending on the time the companies consume energy (Spanish). To complement the changes, the company invested Q10m in new smart meters.


Guatemala’s Trecsa doubled its power transportation capacity. The company increased its power transportation from 360MVA to 720MVA in the La Vega II substation (Spanish). Trecsa invested US$1.3m in the project, which is part of the Transmission Expansion Plan.


AES had a busy week in El Salvador. AES El Salvador cut the ribbon on the last of the ten plants of the Bósforo project (Spanish). AES will invest US$50m in 2020 to bring the transmission grid up to date (Spanish).



Old School Social


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


Seminario Latinoamericano de GLP is scheduled for November 12-14 in Quito, Ecuador.


Expo Oil and Gas Colombia 2019 will be held November 23-26 at Corferias – Centro de Convenciones in Bogotá, Colombia.


S&P Global Platts 20th Annual Caribbean Energy Conference is scheduled for January 29-31 at Wyndham Grand Rio Mar, in Puerto Rico. The leading energy conference in the Caribbean gathers global professionals to discuss regional trends, including power finance and investment, fuel options, IMO, microgrids, infrastructure, natural gas, and much more.



Lateral Thinking


The Bahamas cut the ribbon on the first Caribbean marine waste reception facility. As part of this year’s Inter-American Development Bank’s (IDB) “Blue Tech Challenge,” The Clean Marine Group Limited was chosen as a winner in The Bahamas for its work using cavitation technology to process liquid wastes from marine vessels (English).



Quote of the Week


“Padece usted una de las dolencias más normales en el género humano: la necesidad de comunicarse con sus semejantes.”


“You suffer one of the most common sicknesses of humans: the need to communicate with peers.”



– Augusto Monterroso (1921-2003), Honduran writer known for his short stories and tales.




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