The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


November 19, 2018 edition–El Salvador’s power projects; Cuba’s oil; and Venezuela’s production.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. El Salvador gets 12 power projects ready; and the IMF visited Guatemala.


Greater Antilles. Cuba made an oil discovery; a German energy firm will launch an IPO in Jamaica; and Puerto Rico keeps working on its energy policy.


Lesser Antilles. BPL considers all fuels to power up; and Trinidad & Tobago has some advice for Guyana regarding the oil sector.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Venezuela’s oil production settled down; Tullow has high hopes for Guyana; and the Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline was attacked every four days in 2018.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Punta Catalina’s tender (English); St. Croix’s preliminary agreement (English); and the IDB’s loan for El Salvador (Spanish).



Political Economy


The IMF visited Guatemala and Curaçao. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Guatemala’s growth to remain at 3% in 2018 and increase to 3.3% in 2019 (English). The IMF said Curaçao’s GDP fell by 1.75% in 2017 and Sint Maarten by 4.75% in 2017 (English).


The CDB had a busy week. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) signed an agreement to boost climate finance projects in the Caribbean (English). The CDB is also considering a transformation of the Caribbean energy sector by exploring marine renewable energy development (English).


A US congressman wants to sell rice to Cuba. US Republican Congressman Rick Crawford explained the potential of the Cuban market, especially for the rice industry, and said it cannot be exploited to the maximum due to the economic embargo imposed by the US (English). The per capita consumption of the cereal in Cuba is higher than the world average.


Odebrecht whistleblowers in Colombia died. The attorney general launched a criminal investigation into the deaths of a whistleblower and his son involved in the Odebrecht case (English) (Spanish). The son of an auditor for a concession in which Odebrect participated was killed after he drank from a bottle of water poisoned with cyanide.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Tullow has high hopes for Guyana. Tullow expects to strike black gold at its block in Guyana in 2019, as its prospects for 2019 are next to ExxonMobil’s recent discovery (English). The Orinduik block offshore Guyana could contain almost 3 billion barrels of oil equivalent.


Trinidad & Tobago have some advice for Guyana. Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said other oil-producing countries can benefit from Trinidad & Tobago’s experience in the hydrocarbons sector. In exchange, Trinidad & Tobago can contribute in many aspects of the oil value chain (English).


Venezuela’s oil production settled down. Oil production in Venezuela stabilized and the government maintained its goal to increase production by 1 million b/d (English). The time frame to reach the goal has changed from the end of 2018 to June 2019.


Cuba made an oil discovery. Cubapetroleo, or Cupet, made a discovery of lighter crude oil in an exploration well drilled on the Bacuranao prospect; the discovery was made in 2017 and has been tested for 10 months (English). This is good news for Melbana Energy, which has assets in the same location.


Caricom may keep an eye on Guyana’s fish. The Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism (CRFM) will help Guyana assess if the oil industry work is impacting fish stock. Guyana said it may be a better strategy to let oil companies collect relevant data (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Curaçao’s refinery started the bidding probe. The Isla refinery put its managing director and two other employees on leave while the supervisory board investigates the bidding process to select a new operator for the refinery (English). The decision was taken after receiving allegations about the process.


The Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline was attacked every four days in 2018. According to Argus calculations, Colombia’s Cano Limon-Covenas pipeline was attacked 78 times, compared to the 62 strikes in 2017 and 42 in 2016. The last attack was on November 10 in Cedeno, Toledo, in the department Norte de Santander (English).


An illegal refinery in Colombia was destroyed. Military troops located a craft refinery with fuel, arms, and coca seeds in the San Miguel municipality, which belonged to Frente 48. In the structure, 2,585 gallons of gasoline and a still was found (Spanish).


Venezuelans suffered fuel shortages. Although long lines and gas station closures affected Venezuela’s border regions, cities in the central region were afflicted by shortages in October and November (English). Venezuela produced an average of 1.53 million bpd in 2018, the lowest production in seven decades.



Renewables & Electricity


Dominican Republic’s power is changing. The Dominican Association of the Power Industry and experts are studying different models to transform the energy sector (Spanish) (English). In the south, Indrhi, the dams and canals agency, concluded the excavations for the detour tunnels before filling the dam at Monte Grande in Barahona (English).


BPL considers all fuels. Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) is examining all options for cheaper fuel sources (English). BPL has relied on its Blue Hills plant and expensive fuel to satisfy power demand after recent fires affected two of the most efficient generation units. BPL denied that power rates had increased 70% (English).


El Salvador gets 12 projects ready. The National Energy Board (CNE) announced that 12 energy generation projects will start operations in 2018, 2019, and 2020 with a power capacity to serve 771,350 homes (Spanish). Seven of the projects are related to two public biddings, for 100 and 170 MW, respectively.


Puerto Rico keeps working on its energy policy. The Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association demanded a special session for the Senate to discuss the energy policy (English). The energy policy bill did not complete the legislative process as the House of Representatives requested more time to evaluate it (English).


A German energy firm will launch an IPO in Jamaica. A German investor in Jamaica’s largest solar farm in Westmoreland will make an initial public offering on the Jamaica Stock Exchange by the end of this month, as part of a plan to raise US$200m in capital (English).



Old School Social


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


The 3rd Caribbean Infrastructure Forum is scheduled for December 4-5 at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas.


Cuba Energy Oil and Gas will be held December 4-7 at the Melia Cohiba Hotel in Havana, Cuba.


The S&P Global Platts 19th Annual Caribbean Energy Conference is scheduled for 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


The history of Caribbean mystery monkeys was revealed by DNA. Scientists analyzed DNA of an extinct monkey named Xenothrix and found it was closely related to South America’s titi monkeys, which crossed to Jamaica on floating vegetation. Once in the Caribbean, the monkeys experienced important evolutionary changes (English).



Quote of the Week


“For ultimately, the only way to win wars, is to prevent them occurring in the first place.”


– Owen Seymour Arthur (1949), Barbadian politician who was Prime Minister from September 6, 1994 to January 2008.



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