The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


October 14, 2019 edition– Suriname’s shared production; Jamaica’s solar; and Colombia’s frozen investments.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala’s new transmission lines are almost ready; Costa Rica will cut power tariffs; and the IMF visited Guatemala and Belize.


Greater Antilles. Jamaica shines brighter with Paradise Park; and Miguel Díaz-Canel was voted president of the Republic of Cuba.


Lesser Antilles. BPC is no longer looking for equity financing; BP and Shell join forces on Trinidad and Tobago’s renewable project; and BVI’s Anegada will be the first to have a renewable energy plant.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Suriname’s state oil company and Columbus made a production-sharing deal; protesters froze US$700m in Colombia’s oil investment; and PDVSA and CNPC put an end to oil blending.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Guatemala’s power auction (Spanish); and Barbados’ boost of renewables (English).



Political Economy


The IMF visited Guatemala and Belize. The IMF welcomed Guatemala’s efforts to maintain macroeconomic stability and a peaceful political handover after the elections (English). The IMF said Belize’s economic recovery continues, growing at 4% in 2019, but a severe drought is affecting economic activity this year (English).


Miguel Díaz-Canel was voted president of the Republic of Cuba. Miguel Díaz-Canel was chosen president of the Republic of Cuba during the IV Extraordinary Session of the National Assembly of Popular Power (Spanish). Salvador Valdés was named vice president. Both leaders will be in office until 2023.


El Salvador’s economic instability hit competitivity. El Salvador went down in the new index of global competitivity by five positions, reaching position 103 due to a fall in economic stability and citizen insecurity (Spanish). The index considers institutions, infrastructure, information technologies, macroeconomic stability, financial systems, business dynamism, innovation capacity, etc.


S&P gave The Bahamas a break after Dorian. Standard & Poor’s gave The Bahamas a boost after Dorian, assuring that the Caribbean nation is “well-positioned to handle the fallout” from the storm (English). S&P forecasts that no further downgrade for The Bahamas is imminent.



Oil & Gas Upstream


BPC is no longer looking for equity financing. The Bahamas Petroleum Company said it has no plans to further raise equity financing via private placement. The BPC estimates that its share price “materially undervalues” its prospects for striking oil in the Bahamas (English).


Repsol and Peterson signed a deal over Kanuku’s block operations. Repsol plans to drill the wildcat Carapa-1 exploration well in 2019, and Peterson Logistics was contracted to supply integrated supply base operations management, logistics, and pipe yard operations (English). Peterson will provide services in both Trinidad and Guyana.


BHP published an expression of interest for the Ruby project. BHP Trinidad and Tobago launched an invitation to submit expressions of interest for mudlogging and OSV/AHTS at the offshore Ruby project (English). The campaign will start not before July 1, 2020.


Suriname’s state oil company and Columbus made a production-sharing deal. Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname signed an agreement with Columbus Energy Resources for production-sharing activities on the onshore Weg Naar Zee (WNZ) block (English). The 30-year agreement would develop a “minimum exploration program” during the first seven years.


Protesters froze US$700m in Colombia’s oil investment. According to the Colombia Petroleum Association (ACP), US$700m in investment spending by oil companies is frozen due to contract delays caused by protests and consultations (English). Approximately 50 projects are delayed due to disagreements with local communities, environmental permissions, security issues, court rulings, and consultations.



Oil & Gas Downstream


DOE okayed Eagle LNG’s exports to non-FTA countries. The US Department of Energy approved the export of LNG from a small-scale LNG facility to countries with which the US does not have free trade agreements (English). Jacksonville will be able to export natural gas to nearby nations in the Caribbean region.


PDVSA and CNPC put an end to oil blending. Venezuela’s PDVSA and China’s CNPC have stopped oil blending at Petrosinovensa due to the accumulation of oil stocks after the US sanctions on Venezuela (English). Petrosinovensa was the only project still blending oil in Venezuela after Petropiar halted operations.


The Bahamas is keeping an eye on Equinor’s oil spill. The National Oil Spill Contingency Advisory Committee will address the oil spill at the South Riding Point Oil storage facility on Grand Bahama (English). The committee has visited the oil spill site and met on several occasions.


The Trasandino was attacked with a bomb…again. A bomb attack damaged Colombia’s Trasandino pipeline, spilling crude into the Guamues river in Orito municipality in Putumayo province (English). The pipeline was not working at the time of the attack.


India’s Reliance Industries will resume Venezuela’s crude loadings. The Indian refiner will resume trading Venezuelan crude in October after pausing for four months, according to PDVSA’s documents and sources (English). The decision could help PDVSA reduce its large oil inventories.



Renewables & Electricity


Costa Rica will cut power tariffs. The Costa Rican Institute of Electricity expects to reduce power tariffs by more than 10% in several regions, as the institute used less diesel than expected in its plants (Spanish). Since May, the Institute has not used hydrocarbons to generate power.


BP and Shell join forces on Trinidad and Tobago’s renewable project. LightSource BP, Shell, and BPTT submitted a bid to the Energy and Energy Industries Ministry for a commercial scale solar power project (English). In 2017, the ministry released an expression of interest for utility scale renewable energy projects.


Jamaica shines brighter with Paradise Park. Paradise Park, a 51.5MWp solar farm based in Westmoreland, Jamaica, is in operation. The park delivers to Jamaica Public Service Company Limited through a 20-year power purchase agreement (English).


Guatemala’s new transmission lines are almost ready. Transportista Eléctrica Centroamericana said that the construction of transmission lines in Escuintla, Jutiapa, Chiquimula, and Santa Rosa are almost ready. The construction required an investment of US$9m and includes the construction of two new substations connected by two lines (Spanish).


BVI’s Anegada will be the first to have a renewable energy plant. Plans are set for Anegada to become the first island in the British Virgin Islands with large-scale renewable energy. A request for proposal for a microgrid, including solar panels and battery storage, will be published internationally (English).



Old School Social


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


Blue Economy Caribbean 2019 is scheduled for October 15 at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami.


11th Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum will be held October 16-18 at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami.


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 IDB and Haiti work on ocean plastic pollution. The innovation laboratory of the Inter-American Development will support a Haitian recycling company, Environmental Cleaning Solutions (ECSSA), to recycle plastic in Haiti (English). Haiti is one of the countries that generates a large volume of plastic waste that risks going into the ocean.



Quote of the Week


“La ciudad nos espera con sus palacios, tenues como panales de abejas silvestres.”


“The city waits for us with its palaces, faint like wild honeycombs.”


– Nicolás Guillén (1902-1989), Cuban poet and journalist.




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