The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


September 9, 2019 edition– El Salvador’s wind; The Bahamas’ oil drilling; and Cuba’s rice biomass.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. El Salvador’s first wind park will be working by 2020; and JICA handed geothermal equipment to UES.


Greater Antilles. Cuba cut the ribbon on a new biomass plant; Haiti called for a second RFQ; and a 50MW solar plant will be up and running by year-end in the Dominican Republic.


Lesser Antilles. The Bahamas will start drilling by 2020; drilling services were chosen for the Nevis geothermal project; and Hurricane Dorian killed at least 30 people in The Bahamas.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Guyana is planning a Local Content Compliance Unit; Venezuela’s oil exports dropped to its lowest level this year; and Colombia is concerned about inflation.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in US Virgin Islands’ generators and renewables (English).



Political Economy


Hurricane Dorian killed at least 30 people in The Bahamas… Officials said that the death toll from Hurricane Dorian increased to 30 and hundreds remain missing (English). Officials are warning the public to prepare for “unimaginable information about the death toll.”


…and before its arrival, Hurricane Dorian scared The Bahamas’ businessmen and its GDP. The business community was concerned with the safety of The Bahamas’ citizens and how Hurricane Dorian would affect the nation’s economy (English). Considering the massive infrastructural spend needed to recover, Hurricane Dorian is expected to have a negative impact on The Bahamas’ GDP (English).


Colombia has inflation worries. In a survey to specialists, Colombian inflation is expected to end 2019 at 3.66%, up from the previous estimate of 3.50% (English). The increase is explained by high food prices and a 17.2% depreciation in the peso over the last 12 months.


The IADB will help Colombia strengthen its public sector management. Colombia will implement an innovative government center (Smart Delivery Unit) incorporating cutting-edge technologies to support decision-making processes thanks to a US$15m loan approved by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Guyana is planning a Local Content Compliance Unit. As the country prepares to start commercial oil production in 2020, the government is working to establish a Local Content Compliance Unit to validate information submitted by oil companies operating in the Caribbean nation (English). Operators are expected to collaborate with the government.


Range Resources will leave T&T operations. Range Resources plans to sell its Trinidad assets to LandOcean in exchange for the outstanding debt due from Range to LandOcean, estimated at US$91m, and cash consideration payable to Range of US$2.5m (English). Range Resources had independently verified reserves of 15.2 million barrels.


Jamaica found another oil seep. Jamaica found another oil seep, although experts say commercial discoveries are still far away (English). Two independent laboratories confirmed that an oil seep identified in 2018 holds small traces of oil, taking the number of oil seeps to five.


The Dominican Republic’s central bank bet on its productive sectors. Among the RD$34.4bn released by the Central Bank reserve to finance productive sectors, 50% has reached more than 5,000 beneficiaries, of which 4,700 have obtained loans of less than RD$5m for retailers, SME, consumers, and personal loans (English).


The Bahamas will start drilling by 2020. The Bahamas Petroleum Company completed agreements with Seadrill to bring an ultra-high-tech drilling ship to start its first offshore well (English). The Bahamas will conduct seismic testing work offshore in the next months.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Haiti received a vessel to satisfy its oil demand… Haiti’s shortage of gasoline, diesel, and kerosene was eased after the arrival of a vessel with more than 250,000 barrels of oil (English). The director of the Office of Monetization of Development Assistance Programs asked the population to remain calm.


…and the Dominican Republic’s gas stations ran out of fuel on the border. The only gas station in Jimaní was left without fuel as it supplied local vehicles and those from Haiti (English). Dominican authorities allow the sale of fuels to Haitian drivers (except in drums or large tanks).


The IEEFA thinks Puerto Rico should review its natural gas contracts. Wanda Vázquez has reviewed contracts signed by the Rosselló administration, and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has questioned the transformation of two units of the San Juan power plant and the construction of new plants without information on how gas would be supplied (English).


Parkland acquired Tropic Oil Company to control the Caribbean market. Parkland Fuel Corporation acquired all of the issued and outstanding equity interest of Tropi Oil Company, complementing the company’s Caribbean business by providing significant supply and distribution synergy potential (English).


Venezuela’s oil exports dropped to their lowest levels. In August, Venezuela’s oil exports fell to their lowest levels this year due to US sanctions and the halt in China’s purchases (English). Crude exports reached 770,000 barrels per day, from 992,565 barrels per day in July.


LNG and natural gas have a great future in the Caribbean. Small LNG plants are surging in the US, serving a growing export market in the Caribbean (English). The IADB published a study describing the opportunities in the Caribbean to reduce fuel oil dependency and introduce natural gas use (English).



Renewables & Electricity


El Salvador’s first wind park will be working by 2020. Banco Cuscatlán okayed a US$10m loan to build a part of the Ventus wind park (Spanish). The wind park will connect to the national grid by the last quarter of 2020, as the project has progressed 30% thus far (Spanish).


Drilling services were chosen for Nevis’ geothermal project. Nevis Renewable Energy International announced that Schlumberger Integrated Drilling Services will install geothermal production and injection wells for the Nevis geothermal project (English). The project is unique in the Eastern Caribbean as Nevis’ geothermal reservoir has a capacity to meet Nevis’ present and future needs.


Haiti called for a second RFQ. Haiti’s National Regulation Authority for Energy (ANARSE) launched its second Request for Qualification (RFQ) for a grid modernization project with the support of USAID (English). The goal is to make the country’s electricity system more efficient and less costly.


A 50MW solar plant will be up and running by year-end in the Dominican Republic. The National Energy Commission (CNE) said the Washington Capital Solar Park is being built and will be completed by the end of 2019 (English). The solar plant will generate 110GWh per year and its construction will cost US$75m (English).


Cuba cut the ribbon on a new biomass plant. A new biomass plant using waste from a rice processing plant has opened, receiving support from the Environmental Bases for Local Food Sustainability project that is affiliated with the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment. The plant will save over 200 tons of diesel fuel per year and will generate 2.4MWh of electricity (English).


JICA handed geothermal equipment to UES. The International Agency of Cooperation of Japan (JICA) delivered specialized equipment for exploring geothermal energy to the University of El Salvador (UES) (Spanish). The delivery is part of the geothermal exploration project signed in 2018 with the University of Tohoku.



Old School Social


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


Solar Asset Management Mexico & Central America will be held October 8-9 in Mexico City.



Lateral Thinking


Climate change brought a dengue outbreak to Central America. Scientists expect dengue fever to spread and become more frequent in Central America due to climate change (English). Warming temperatures, changing weather conditions, and extreme weather can increase dengue outbreaks, which have caused 109 deaths just in Honduras.



Quote of the Week


“To simply wake up every morning a better person than when I went to bed.”


– Sidney Poitier (1927), Bahamian-American actor and film director.



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