The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean

November 6, 2017 edition—T&T will offer oil and gas tenders; solar energy is powering Puerto Rico; and Venezuelan oil is in trouble.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Honduras received 18 offers for its 820MW tender; El Salvador and Nicaragua paid more for fuel; and Panama’s electricity supply was reduced this year.


Greater Antilles. Melbana Energy is moving forward to tap Cuba’s oil; Puerto Rico’s renewable energy companies are reconnecting homes; and Haiti’s President is looking for innovation in the energy sector.


Lesser Antilles. Trinidad & Tobago will offer new tenders for oil and gas; Petrotrin’s investigative report was delayed; and Tobago will count on a waste oil plant.


Northern South America. The Colombia’s Tigana/Jacana oil field is surprising GeoPark; S&P and Fitch lowered Venezuela’s rate; and PDVSA missed debt payments to India’s top oil producer.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Guyana’s oil future (English); Russia’s interest in the Caribbean (English); and Sinopec’s Caribbean projects (English).



Political Economy


S&P and Fitch lowered Venezuela’s rating. The international rating agencies lowered Venezuela’s sovereign rating after the country starting restructuring its estimated US$150bn of debt (Spanish). The IMF declared Venezuela in breach of its obligation to provide financial data under the Fund’s articles of agreement (English).


Leaked files exposed the Caribbean as a tax haven. The Paradise Papers have shown how clients from Queen Elizabeth II to prime ministers avoided tax and dodged sanctions in the Caribbean (English). The information was published just when Caribbean countries are fighting the tax haven label.


Nicaragua and Taiwan renew their trade friendship, while China backs the DR. Representatives from the Nicaragua and Taiwan government met to review the conditions of the two countries’ Free Trade Association (Spanish). China pledged to invest US$820m in projects in the Dominican Republic (English).


The IMF is happy with the DR’s growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission assured the Dominican Republic that it is optimistic about the country’s economic growth for the rest of 2017 and 2018 (English). They were particularly upbeat about the Dominican Republic’s low deficit levels and strong international reserves.


CARICOM trade ministers met. Trade ministers met to discuss the implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (English). The discussions will center on public procurement protocol, police certificates of character, and harmonizing laws among the CARICOM countries.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Petrotrin’s investigative report was delayed…again. Petrotrin announced that the external consultant report about alleged inconsistencies in the reported volumes of exploration and production is delayed (English). Petrotrin said the report from Kroll Consulting Canada Co should have been received in early October.


The Tigana/Jacana oil field is bigger than expected. GeoPark Limited announced the drilling and testing of the Tigana Norte 3 appraisal well in the Tigana oil field in Llanos 34 block in Colombia (English). GeoPark is now drilling the Tigana Norte 4 well to delineate the northeastern boundaries.


Melbana Energy changed Cuba’s oil drilling director. The Australian company said its Cuban oil development plans moved closer to operation with the naming of a new oil planning coordinator (English). Melbana Energy’s goal is to tap the Alameda-1 prospect, located in an area that has more than 630 million recoverable barrels of oil.


Venezuelan oil had a terrible week. PDVSA missed debt payments to India’s top oil producer, ONGC, for six months, accumulating a US$540m backlog (English). Argentina’s president asked the US to expand sanctions and block Venezuelan oil exports(English).


T&T will offer new tenders for oil and gas. Energy Minister Franklin Khan announced that a tender process will be offered to the oil and gas upstream sector (English). The goal is to collaborate in all aspects of the upstream operation including the use of technology and infrastructure.




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Oil & Gas Downstream


The Dominican Republic postponed the decision on fuel sales in gas stations. The Industry and Commerce Ministry postponed the decision on selling liquid fuels and gases in the same stations (English). The priority is to complete the regulatory process on all fuel stations.


El Salvador and Nicaragua suffered high fuel prices… Fuel prices climbed again in El Salvador paying SVC$0.06 more per gallon (Spanish). Nicaragua experienced an increase of between 26 cents and 2.60 cordobas per gallon (Spanish).


…and Panama’s fuel prices followed. According to Panama’s Energy Ministry, gasoline and diesel prices showed an increase after November 10. Gasoline of 95 octanes showed an increase of US$0.037 and will be sold at US$0.808 per liter (Spanish).



Tobago will count on a waste oil plant. The Tobago House of Assembly approved US$475,000 for a Waste Oil Processing Pilot Plant for Tobago (English). The facility will collect, store, treat, and re-refine waste lubricating oil into a safe base oil product to be reused in the market.



Renewables & Electricity


Honduras received 18 offers for the 820MW tender. Authorities from the National Electrical Energy Company announced that 18 offers were received in the auction and the winners will be announced by the end of 2017 (Spanish). The goal was to contract 820MW of capacity from January 27, 2018 to January 27, 2028.


Puerto Rico has a power ace up its sleeve. Puerto Rico presented an energy plan that aims to have 25% of the island’s energy produced by renewables (English). After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico’s renewable energy industry has installed batteries for customers to have power without connecting to the utility’s grid (English).


The DR Electrical Pact will change everything. Or not. The Industry Association of the Dominican Republic said that the role of the CDEE will change completely with the pact (Spanish). The Economy Minister said the pact will only achieve unity in basic aspects, but does not include all the participating sectors (Spanish).


Haiti’s President is looking for energy sector innovation. President Jovenel Moïse called for investment and innovation in energy production and distribution in Haiti (English). Moïse highlighted Haiti’s potential to develop clean and renewable energy sources.


Panama’s electricity supply hit the brakes. Panama’s energy offer reached 7.91 GWh, only slightly above 2016’s 7.78 GWh (Spanish). Clean energy sources contributed 5.37 GWh, a 9% increase compared with the 4.93 GWh produced in 2016.



Old School Social


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


The Expo Oil & Gas Colombia is November 22-24 in Bogotá, Colombia.


The América Central Eficiente is November 29-30 at Hotel Las Americas Golden Tower, Panama City, Panama.



Lateral Thinking


Humans killed the Caribbean’s ancient mammals. The Caribbean forests were the home of more than 130 species of diverse mammal life thousands of years ago (English). When humans arrived in the islands 6,000 years ago, native mammal species began to disappear from the region, leaving just 60 bat species and 13 non-flying mammal species.



Quote of the Week


“The future happens. No matter how much we scream.”


-Dereck Walcott (1930-2017), Saint Lucian poet, playwright, and Nobel Prize winner.



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