The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


October 21, 2019 edition– ONGC Videsh’s Colombian discovery; Dominican Republic’s LNG pipeline; and Aruba’s refinery




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Central American hydroelectric generation keeps dropping; the Dominican Republic sees Panamá as an energy role model; and the US and Guatemala disagree on the asylum pact.


Greater Antilles. A pipeline may secure Dominican Republic’s LNG; Cuba survives US sanctions on oil; and Jamaica will pay its pending Venezuelan oil payments.


Lesser Antilles. BHP had no luck with the Carnival-1 well; Aruba takes back its refinery; and Grand Bahama Power Company is back to 90%.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Venezuela’s oil production could be cut in half if the Chevron waiver ends; and ONGC Videsh made two new discoveries in Colombia and Brazil.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Jamaica’s solar (English); Anegada’s renewables (English); and BP and Shell’s renewable project (English).



Political Economy


The Dominican Republic called attention to the Haitian crisis. The Dominican Republic’s Permanent Mission to the UN asked the international community to show support for Haiti, suffering a general strike for five weeks (English). The mission encouraged all the actors to participate in an inclusive dialogue.


The IMF lowered The Bahamas’ GDP growth forecast… The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut The Bahamas’ 2019 growth prediction by 50%, from 1.8% to 0.9%, and forecast a contraction for next year due to the effects of Hurricane Dorian (English).


…and The Bahamas government is not optimistic. The government’s finances will be set back three years due to Hurricane Dorian’s devastation (English). The government’s fiscal consolidation plan has been abandoned until 2022.


El Salvador received more remittances than in 2018. El Salvador’s central bank said the remittances received by families in the Central American country grew 4.4%, reaching US$4.1bn, US$176.2m more than the amount registered in the same period in 2018 (Spanish).


The US and Guatemala disagree on the asylum pact. A senior White House official warned that Guatemala must agree with the US on accepting asylum seekers to benefit from a regional economic development plan (English). Guatemalan President-elect Alejandro Giammattei is not convinced of the deal reached by his predecessor.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Venezuela’s oil production could be cut in half if the Chevron waiver ends. Venezuela’s oil production could sink below 300,000 barrels per day if the Trump administration lets the Chevron waiver expire (Platts – English). The waiver allowed Chevron, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, and Weatherford International to continue developing certain work with PDVSA.


ONGC Videsh made two new discoveries in Colombia and Brazil. ONGC made a major gas discovery in Brazil and an oil discovery in Colombia (Economic Times – English). Well Sol-1 in the CPO-5 block found oil bearing sands of 8 meters at 2,852m.


BHP had no luck with the Carnival-1 well. BHP drilled in Trinidad and Tobago deep waters and announced that neither oil nor gas was found in its latest well (English). This is the first dry well the company has encountered in its Northern licenses.


Jamaica gets ready to face an oil spill. The government is working to renew and update the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan to make sure the country can respond to such an incident (English). The update is part of Jamaica’s obligations under the International Maritime Organization (IMO).



Oil & Gas Downstream


Aruba takes back its refinery. Aruba’s government reached an agreement with Citgo to take back control of Valero Energy’s 235,000 barrels per day refinery and terminal in San Nicolas (OGJ – English). Aruba retains the right to seek others to operate the refinery, dock, and terminal.


Jamaica will pay its pending Venezuelan oil payments. Jamaica is repaying Venezuela for past subsidized oil deliveries through escrow accounts in Jamaica’s central bank (English). Jamaica owed J$115m for crude and refined products to PetroCaribe. Jamaica has recognized neither Maduro nor Guaidó, maintaining an ambivalent stance on the Venezuelan crisis.


A pipeline may secure Dominican Republic’s LNG. The Eastern Gas Pipeline will supply power plants switching from fuel oil to gas (English). The change could almost double the Dominican Republic’s LNG imports.


Cuba survives US sanctions on oil. Bus services keep being slashed and oxen have replaced tractors in the fields due to acute petrol shortages resulting from US sanctions. Cuba is working at 62% of the petrol it needs (English).



Renewables & Electricity


Grand Bahama Power Company is back at 90%. Grand Bahama Power Company (GBPC) says that 90% of its customers have their power services restored after Hurricane Dorian (English). Approximately 3,000 clients are not yet energized in Grand Bahama and the surrounding cays.


The Dominican Republic’s power faces some trouble… The Dominican Republic’s government will borrow to pay the electric subsidy next year, which is expected to amount to US$463.5m (English). Civil society organizations are asking the Attorney General to investigate the construction of the Punta Catalina power plant (English).


…and is looking at China and Panamá as examples. The Dominican electricity industry said Panamá’s system is an example of short-, medium-, and long-term planning (English). In a forum in China, the Dominican Republic’s Energy and Mines Ministry discussed the opportunities for renewable energy on the island (English).


Central American hydroelectric generation keeps dropping. According to Panamá’s numbers, in the first eight months of 2019, 7.436 million kwh were generated, a 3.3% increase compared to the 7.2 million offered in 2018. The generation of renewable energy fell by 33.4% while thermoelectric sources increased by 119% (Spanish).


The Caribbean is building resilient grids. The Caribbean nations have been working on the deployment of storage solutions, minigrids, and microgrids to be prepared for future hurricane seasons (English). The Caribbean electric utilities have shifted towards renewables to achieve resiliency and environmental sustainability (English).



Old School Social


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


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 IADB plans to boost Belizean youth. The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) and the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility (CCPF) are planning a social innovation challenge in Belize called “Change Dah Story.” The goal is to solve social environmental problems affecting vulnerable youth in Belize (English).



Quote of the Week


“Mañana–¡mágica palabra la noche en que se nos ha dicho que somos amados!”


“Tomorrow — magic word the night we have found out we are loved!”


– Jorge Isaacs (1837-1895), Colombian writer, politician, and soldier.




We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or social innovation projects to


Tell your friends and colleagues about the Weekly Brief! They can sign up for a free one-month trial here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]