The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


November 12, 2018 edition–Costa Rica’s cancelled hydro; Shell’s onshore wells in T&T; and Caribbean foreign trade is looking up.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Costa Rica canceled the Diquís hydropower plant; the IADB will lend US$250m to El Salvador; and Trump accused Central American leaders of stealing foreign aid.


Greater Antilles. Puerto Rico discussed and passed the public energy policy bill; Punta Catalina may be up for tender; and the US imposed new sanctions against Cuba.


Lesser Antilles. Shell plans two land wells in Trinidad and Tobago; Limetree Bay Refining reached an agreement for the St. Croix refinery; and St. Lucia is working on its energy standards.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Colombia’s Vikingo production resumed; the Noble Tom Madden will start drilling soon in Guyana; and Colombia looked towards Mexico’s oil hedge example.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Bermuda’s feed-in tariffs (English); Venezuelan bribes (English); and Conoco’s US$345m in cash and commodities (English).



Political Economy


The Trump Administration imposed new sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela. The Trump administration announced new sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela, targeting what was called by the White House national security advisor, John Bolton, as a “troika of tyranny,” including Nicaragua (English). Bolton described Jair Bolsonaro’s victory as “positive signs for the future of the region.”


The ECLAC is bullish on Caribbean foreign trade. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) forecasted a growth in regional trade in 2018, considering global tensions that require a better regional integration. The value of regional goods exports will increase 9.7% in 2018 (English).


Trump accused Central American leaders of stealing foreign aid. President Trump cut foreign aid to Central American countries as the money “is probably just stolen” by corrupt leaders (English). In 2017, US foreign aid to the region included US$115m to El Salvador, US$249m to Guatemala and US$175m to Honduras.


The IMF visited Jamaica. The International Monetary Fund completed its fourth review of the Stand-By Arrangement for Jamaica. The country has reduced its public debt and improved its social and unemployment indicators, but growth remains subdued (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Guyana intervened on discrimination claims against seafarers. The Guyana government intervened to address claims of discrimination against Guyanese seafarers who say they are not being employed by companies contracted by ExxonMobil to work on vessels in the Guyana Basin. The Seafarer’s union argued they are paid lower than their counterparts from Trinidad and Tobago (English).


Shell plans two land wells in Trinidad and Tobago. Shell requested expressions of interest to drill two land wells in Trinidad in November 2019 (English). Both wells will have a depth between 8,000 and 11,000 feet.


A third drilling ship arrived in the Caribbean. The Noble Tom Madden arrived in Guyana, joining the Stenna Carron and the Noble Bob Douglas. The ship will start drilling work on the Pluma Prospect (English) in the area where Exxon, Hess Oil, and Nexen struck oil three years ago.


Colombia’s Vikingo production resumed. Interoil announced that Vikingo’s production test on C5 and lower C7 locations were conducted as planned and finished (English), resuming regular production. Interoil continued its dialogue with the Duya community, developing the equipment mobilization and de-mobilization without any conflict.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Colombia may follow Mexico’s oil hedge example. Colombia is considering hedging its oil exports to protect the government from radical changes in revenue (English). The financing bill will be presented to Congress to be voted on and become law, and would take effect on January 1.


Limetree Bay Refining reached an agreement for the St. Croix refinery. The ArcLight Capital Partners’ subsidiary, Limetree Bay Refining LLC, reached an agreement with a major international oil company (English) to restart the 500,000 b/d refinery on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands.


Petrotrin closed its refinery seamlessly. On November 1, the state-owned company shifted its refining operations at the 165,000 b/d refinery from refining crude to importing refined fuels and exporting existing crude reserves. As the company imported fuel volumes, motorists in Trinidad and Tobago were not affected by the refinery closure (English).


Colombia’s Cano Limon was attacked for the 77th time. The Cano Limon-Covenas crude pipeline was attacked in Canaguata, causing a forest fire and water contamination, the 77th attack of 2018. Ecopetrol closed a flow valve near the site, waiting for military support to enter the area to mitigate the damage and make the repairs (English).



Renewables & Electricity


The IADB bet US$250m on El Salvador’s energy. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) okayed a loan of US$250m for El Salvador to invest in infrastructure and renewable energy projects (Spanish). The Conditional Credit Line for Investment Projects will be executed over 10 years.


Punta Catalina may be up for tender. President Danilo Medina announced a tender for investors interested in the Punta Catalina coal plant (English). The Dominican Republic will boost energy efficiency with a US$400m loan from IADB (English).


Costa Rica canceled the Diquís hydropower plant. After spending US$146m in six years, Costa Rican authorities canceled the construction of the 650MW hydropower plant in Puntarenas due to the fall in national power demand (Spanish) and the country’s current power capacity, which is sufficient to satisfy demand in the coming years.


St. Lucia is working on its energy standards. The CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality (CROSQ) and the St. Lucia Bureau of Standards (SLBS) provided an information session on the establishment of an energy efficiency-labeling scheme (English). The scheme will establish energy performance standards for air conditioners, lighting, and refrigerators.


Puerto Rico discussed and passed the public energy policy bill. Puerto Rico’s Senate passed the regulatory framework and energy policy bill (English) to transform the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. Critics and supporters debated how the bill failed to promote an efficient and reliant power industry, deterring the integration of renewables (English).



Old School Social


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


The Gender and Energy Forum for Latin America and the Caribbean: The Balance of Power is scheduled for November 12 at the EVI Conference Center, in New York.


The Americas Gas Summit will be held November 14-16 at the Central Hotel Panamá, in Panamá.


The S&P Global Platts 19th Annual Caribbean Energy Conference will be held January 24-25 at the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Every year, attendees gather from all over the Caribbean, the Americas, and Europe to discuss the events and trends in Caribbean energy. Meet with private and public energy companies working in the Caribbean, plus investors and project financiers. For more information including an agenda and speaker lineup:



Lateral Thinking


Climate change may cause hunger in the Caribbean. Climate change could increase food insecurity and reduce freshwater availability because droughts may hit the Caribbean region more frequently. Drought in the region is “likely to become more severe over time,” leaving 2 million people in food insecurity danger (English).



Quote of the Week


“Puerto Rico no tiene 4 millones de habitantes sino 8 millones. Que la diáspora también es (de cierta manera) Puerto Rico.”


“Puerto Rico does not have 4 million inhabitants, but 8 million. As the diaspora is also (in a way) Puerto Rico.”



– Mayra Santos Febres (1966), Puerto Rican author, poet, and novelist.



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