The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


October 22, 2018 edition–Jamaica’s renewables; Shell’s Venezuelan stakes; and Puerto Rico’s power tender.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Conflict may increase Guatemala’s power rates; and the country rejected the “conditions” on aid.


Greater Antilles. Jamaica wants to push renewables to 50% by 2030; the Punta Catalina power plant did a test run; and Puerto Rico requested proposals for the development and installation of energy storage systems at substations.


Lesser Antilles. Rubis will train to avoid oil spills; Trinidad and Tobago announced Petrotrin’s replacements; and the Bahamas’ Freeport will become a “smart city.”


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Amerisur’s exploration in Colombia is going smoothly; Shell plans to sell its Venezuelan oil stakes; and Colombia’s court said oil projects cannot be blocked.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Bermuda’s wind farm (English); Belco’s outages (English); and the Bahamas’ power prices (English).



Political Economy


The IMF believes the Caribbean’s economy has lost momentum. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its growth forecast for Latin America and the Caribbean to 1.2% in 2018 and 2.2% in 2019 (English), from the previous forecasts in May of 2% and 2.8%, respectively.


The Bahamas targets 2.5% growth, the Dominican Republic 5.6%. The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) predicts 5.6% growth for the Dominican Republic in 2018 (English). The Bahamas government is targeting 2.5% GDP growth as a short-term goal thanks to the IMF’s recent assessment (English).


Guatemala rejected the “conditions” on aid. Guatemala’s President Jimmy Morales rejected the “conditions” placed on foreign aid after President Donald Trump threatened to cut assistance if a Central American migrant caravan is not halted by local authorities (English).


The US considers more Venezuelan sanctions. The US plans to increase pressure on Venezuela with sanctions, but will not target the energy sector, given Venezuela’s drop in production (English). The Trump administration had considered sanctions by targeting a Venezuelan military-run oil services company or limiting insurance coverage for oil shipments.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Colombia’s court said oil projects cannot be blocked. The constitutional court of Colombia ruled that local referendums cannot halt or ban energy projects, such as mining and oil extraction, after a series of votes scared multinational companies (English). In the past 18 months, multiple anti-mining referendums have worried investors and altered investment plans.


Climate change menaced Jamaica’s oil exploration. The Director of the Climate Studies Group said the need to limit global warning in the next 12 years requires changes in transportation and energy use (English). With oil exploration an emerging activity for Jamaica, the activity could be abandoned if conditions do not improve globally.


Shell plans to sell its Venezuelan oil stakes. Royal Dutch Shell is considering selling its 40% stake in Petroregional del Lago, a Venezuelan oil joint venture, to Maurel & Prom to reduce its crude business in Venezuela (English). Shell has experienced delays in receiving dividends from PDVSA.


Amerisur’s exploration in Colombia is going smoothly. Although oil output dropped in September, Amerisur is ready to drill the Indico-1 well by the end of October (English). The operator expects to drill the Aguila-1 and Sol-1 wells after Indico-1, while testing of the T sand at Pintadillo-1 continues.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Trinidad and Tobago announced Petrotrin’s replacements. The government of Trinidad and Tobago said Heritage Petroleum Company and Paria Fuel Trading Company will replace Petrotrin. Heritage Petroleum will be in charge of exploration and Paria Fuel Trading will manage fuel logistics and energy trading (English).


Ecopetrol cut the sulfur content in its diesel. Ecopetrol reduced the sulfur content of the diesel fuel the company produces (English). Ecopetrol will supply lower-sulfur diesel during the months with climate conditions that affect higher particulate concentration.


Colombia is promoting natural gas for cars. The Colombian Natural Gas Association is promoting the use of cleaner energy sources for mobility, such as natural gas, in the Aburrá Valley (English). The goal is to promote a cleaner auto fleet in an environmentally sensitive area, the Colombian Andean Region.


Rubis will train to avoid oil spills. Rubis Energy Bermuda will develop a Tier 1 Oil Spill Booming training exercise with the Royal Bermuda Regiment (English). The goal is to test all functions of oil spill response and train workers to deploy oil spill booming equipment.



Renewables & Electricity


Punta Catalina was fired up. President Danilo Medina was present at the test run of the Punta Catalina coal-fired power plant’s generator (English). The Dominican Republic expects the US’ “blessing” to start the plant, a facility built by Odebrecht (English).


Conflict may increase Guatemala’s power rates. A group of protesters has taken over the Chixoy hydropower plant, one of the country’s biggest, and threatens to set it on fire (Spanish). If the plant stops operations, power tariffs for users could increase by 10%. Investors are moving to El Salvador for certainty (Spanish).


Freeport will roll on renewables. Freeport will become a “smart city” thanks to US$15m in renewable energy investments and electrical car charging stations to be installed in 2019 (English). The Grand Bahama Power Company plans to develop the electrical vehicle industry on Grand Bahama.


Jamaica wants to push renewables to 50% by 2030… Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness plans to reach 50% renewable energy by 2030, up from the previous policy of 30% (English). The prime minister is confident Jamaica will achieve 30% of its electricity from renewables in two years (English).


… and Puerto Rico aims for 100%. The Puerto Rico Senate’s Vice President proposed a regulatory framework to generate power using only renewable energy by 2050 (English). The Puerto Rico Public-Private Partnership Authority requested proposals for the development and installation of energy storage systems at substations (English).


Venezuela went dark after a substation exploded. A blackout affected different states in Venezuela after an explosion and fire affected La Arenosa, an important substation that powers up the center and west of the country, supplying 60% of the nation’s power demand (Spanish).



Old School Social


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


Energía Colombia 2018 is scheduled for October 23-24 at the J. W. Marriott Bogotá in Bogotá, Colombia.


The Renewable Energy Training Course in Photovoltaics and Bio-Energy will be held October 29-November 2 at the Wigton Windfarm Office in Jamaica.



Lateral Thinking


The Caribbean will test the ocean for greenhouse gases. The International Atomic Energy Agency will assist Caribbean nations in testing the acidity of the Caribbean Sea as a consequence of increased absorption of greenhouse gases (English). Scientists already believe the increased acidity is caused by the absorption of carbon emissions by the sea.



Quote of the Week


“What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.”



– Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014), Colombian novelist, short-story writer, and Nobel Prize in Literature winner in 1982.



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