The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean

October 2, 2017 edition— Petrojam’s modernization postponed; the Dominican Republic is into renewables; and Exxon and Guyana plan an underwater pipeline.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Panamá is working on diversifying power and Nicaragua slowed down on renewables.


Greater Antilles. The Petrojam refinery modernization was postponed; the Dominican Republic plans a new contractual regime for oil and gas; and it will take months for Puerto Rico’s transmission grid to recover.


Lesser Antilles. S&P warned Barbados over a possible downgrade; Total is interested in exploring Guyana; and T&T plans to route natural gas through NGC.


Northern South America. Venezuela is investigating PDVSA’s embezzlement and PDVSA said the “US blockade” will not affect its friendship with China.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Honduras’ international tender for 820MW (Spanish).



Political Economy


Caribank worried about the lack of Caribbean policy reform. The Caribbean Development Bank pointed to the absence of political will as an important threat to Caribbean policy reform (English). The implementation rate of public sector reform programs ranged between 20% to 75% in recent years in the Caribbean.


US and China want a piece of the Caribbean market. St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet proposed a new US Caribbean Trade initiative to diversify the Caribbean economy (English). China is looking to deepen trade and cooperation relations with Latin American and Caribbean countries (Spanish).


Barbados issued B$100m in government notes. The Barbados’ government issued B$100m in treasury notes with a fixed interest rate of 6.25% (English). Applications were up for subscription to this Treasury Note from September 27 and will be repayable at par on September 30, 2023.


S&P warned Barbados over a downgrade. The international rating agency warned Barbados on the possibility of another downgrade over the next year (English). Standard & Poor’s recommended that Barbados lower its fiscal deficit, strengthen its liquidity, and save its international reserves.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Venezuela’s new AG thinks PDVSA may have embezzled US$35bn. Venezuela’s new Attorney General announced the suspected embezzlement in PDVSA’s contracts, noting irregularities of more than US$200m in just 10 contracts that were reviewed (Spanish). The Attorney General continues the investigation and pledged to fight corruption.


PDVSA said the “US blockade” will not affect its friendship with China. The state-owned company said the “dreadful blockade” that the US has instituted against Venezuela will not threaten the alliance between Nicolás Maduro and the Chinese president Xi Jinping (Spanish). PDVSA and CNPC managed a joined investment of US$10bn.


The Dominican Republic premiered a new contractual regime for oil and gas. The Energy and Mines Ministry presented proposals for a contractual regime to develop the oil and gas industry in the Dominican Republic (Spanish). The fiscal scheme is available for comments and concludes the first stage in creating the oil and gas exploration and production legislation.


Total is expanding its options in Guyana. The French company agreed to pay US$1m for the option to buy a 25% stake in an oil exploration block offshore Guyana (English). If the option is exercised by Total, the deal will pay for the expanded 3D program and fund two wells.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Petrojam refinery make-over postponed. Due to Venezuela’s political crisis, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew said the expansion planed for Petrojam’s refinery in Kingston has been postponed (English). Venezuela and Jamaica signed an agreement this year to expand and modernize the 36,000 barrels per day hydro skimming refinery.


DR gasoline prices fell while natural gas stood still. The Industry and Commerce Ministry announced that from Sep. 23 to 29 regular and premium gasoline prices will fall by RD$4 (English). Natural gas remained at RD$28.97 per cubic meter.


ExxonMobil and Guyana plan an undersea pipeline. The US oil giant and the Guyanese government discussed whether it is possible to run a 100-mile undersea pipeline (English). The goal is to bring natural gas from offshore wells to generate power for the Guyana Power and Light Corporation.


In T&T all natural gas routes may run through the NGC. BP and Shell may have to sell natural gas to Atlantic LNG and transport gas via T&T’s National Gas Co., following the recommendations in the Natural Gas Master Plan (NGMP) (English – paywall). The plan recommends routing gas through NGC to make collection of the government’s take more efficient.



Renewables & Electricity


Puerto Rico’s transmission grid was devastated. Puerto Rico declared half of its energy system and transmission grid “devastated” (English). The Public Affairs Ministry warned that a complete recovery for the power system will take months (Spanish).


Nicaragua’s and Barbados’ renewables have lost its wind… Since 2014, investment in renewable energy has slowed down in Nicaragua, due to the fall in fuel prices and the country’s energy policy (Spanish). The Barbados’ government increased the National Social Responsibility Levy to 10% on July 1, and the private sector investment in renewables had slowed (English).


…and the Dominican Republic will go greener. More than 100 companies use clean energy to power their production processes (English). Besides modernizing their energy systems, solar panels, biomass plants, and wind turbines are the most used, according to the Dominican Electrical Industries Association.


Panamá works on diversifying power. The World Energy Council showed Panama’s electricity diversification has increased 60% (Spanish). Investments are needed to improve the quality of public electricity services after the blackout that left the international airport without power for six hours (Spanish).



Lateral Thinking


Caribbean praying mantises came long ago from far, far away. Three praying mantis groups living in the Greater Antilles share an ancient African ancestor and was probably the oldest endemic animal lineage on the Caribbean (English). The Cleveland Museum of Natural History determined the mantises came to the Caribbean 92 million years ago.



Quote of the Week


“Hay un país en el mundo colocado en el mismo trayecto del sol. Oriundo de la noche. Colocado en un inverosímil archipiélago de azúcar y de alcohol.”


“There is a country in the world placed in the same route of the sun. Native of the night. Placed in the implausible archipelago of sugar and alcohol.”


-Don Pedro Mir (1913-2000), Dominican poet and writer.



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