The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


September 17, 2018 edition–Total’s stake on Orinduik; the Bahama’s BPL plant; and Guatemala’s political crisis.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala may face a political crisis.


Greater Antilles. Cuba’s Camagüey received an investment in power; and blackouts in the Dominican Republic will increase in October.


Lesser Antilles. The IMF and Barbados reached an agreement; the Bahamas’ Chamber of Commerce will decide on BPL’s plant; and Barbados found a new supplier after Petrotrin’s closure.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Total claimed a stake in Eco Oil & Gas’ Orinduik Block; Venezuela signed old-fashioned oil contracts; and Tullow Oil plans to drill its first well in Guyana in 2019.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the Bahamas’ renewable target (English); the Bahamas’ bio-mass power plant (English); and Barbados’ connection to Petrotrin (English).



Political Economy


The IMF and Barbados reached an agreement. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to a 48-month Economic Program under the Extended Fund Facility (English). Barbados will gain access to US$290m and, if approved by the Executive Board, will have US$49m immediately available (English).


Venezuela accused the US of planning a coup. Venezuela accused the United States of plotting against President Nicolás Maduro, responding to the news of secret meetings between American officials and Venezuelan officers (English).


Guatemala may face a political crisis. Hundreds of farmers and the Maya population blocked a highway to ask President Jimmy Morales to reverse a policy that forced a UN-backed anti-graft unit to leave the country (English). Guatemala’s Foreign Minister said that the UN should not interfere with the country’s decision (English).


The US and Cuba will discuss “health attacks” in Havana. US and Cuban officials restarted efforts to understand what has caused brain injuries in some diplomats (English). Recent reports suggest the symptoms are attributable to exposure to sonic waves, although it is not clear how the waves could be weaponized.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Total claimed a stake in Eco Oil & Gas’ Orinduik Block… Total E&P Activities Petrolieres exercised the option to acquire a 25% interest in the Orinduik Block in Guyana for a fee of US$12.5m (English).


…and Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas is happy. The payment from Total could fund Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas Ltd.’s participation in offshore Guyana for a number of years, including well costs (English). Total will join the exploration venture alongside operator Tullow Oil, owning 60%, and Eco, which will retain a 15% interest.


Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago will cooperate in the oil sector. The governments of Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Energy Sector Cooperation between both governments (English). The President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, however, asked the government to hold off on the signing.


Venezuela signed old-fashioned oil contracts. Venezuela handed at least seven oil fields to small companies that will be paid to increase output through contracts similar to the ones eliminated under the government of Hugo Chavez (English). The effort shows President Nicolás Maduro is willing to reverse the aggressive efforts of his predecessor.


Tullow Oil plans to drill its first well in Guyana in 2019. Tullow Oil expects to drill its first well in the Guyana offshore basin in the third quarter of 2019 in its Orinduik license (English). Exxon and Hess Corp. expect more than 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent to be recovered from the Stabroek block off Guyana.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Grenada is worried about Petrotrin’s refinery closure. The Leader of Government Business in the Lower House of Parliament said that Grenada and other Caribbean Community member states will soon increase prices for fuels that were previously supplied by Trinidad & Tobago’s oil refinery (English). Petrotrin supplies refined products to Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, and St. Lucia.


A former Haitian president keeps trusting PetroCaribe. Former Haitian president Michel Martelly backs the effort to ensure accountability within PetroCaribe after making a joke about the situation (English). PetroCaribe is an oil alliance of certain Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on preferential payment conditions.


Gas prices may drop in the next months. Depending on the effect of hurricanes and tropical storms in the Caribbean, consumers may enjoy cheaper gasoline prices in the coming months (English). The price of gas drops in the fall because demand declines after summer vacations and refineries switch from a more costly blend.


Barbados found a new supplier after Petrotrin’s closure. The Barbados National Oil Company Ltd. will sign a new petroleum contract by November, with a new supplier (English). The BNOCL said its storage capacity for gasoline is 80,000 barrels and the previous contract entailed the exchange of crude oil for gasoline (English).



Renewables & Electricity


Belco wants to discuss the grid code. Belco wants the public to offer their opinions on the proposed grid code that must be approved by the Regulatory Authority (English). The Bermudan power utility must develop a grid code to cover all material technical aspects associated with the operation of electric lines.


Camagüey receives an investment in power. Cuba’s Empresa Eléctrica, with its investments in the province and an increasing budget of CUC 29m for 2018, is working on powering rural locations and rehabilitating the 110Kv power lines (Spanish). Camagüey has three solar parks in operation.


Blackouts in the Dominican Republic will increase in October. The CDEEE is afraid blackouts will increase in October once the generating company Barahona Carbón and the Compañía Eléctrica San Pedro de Macorís (CESPM) go into scheduled maintenance with an estimated deficit of between 500MW and 600MW (Spanish).


The Bahamas’ Chamber of Commerce will decide on BPL’s planned plants. The Chamber of Commerce will assess if Clifton Pier is a suitable place for both the Bahamas Power & Light current and proposed new power plants (English). The Chamber had expressed its concerns over Clifton Pier, pointing to the environmental remediation and clean-up work required to deal with past oil spills.



Old School Social


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


The Central American Energy Transition Roundtable is scheduled for September 20 at the Barceló San José Hotel in Costa Rica.


The CARILEC Renewable Energy Community & Smart Grid Conference will be held September 23-27 at the Hilton Miami Downtown.



Lateral Thinking


Puerto Rico will have a new renewable energy investigation center. The Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico will take advantage of a new center for the in-depth study of renewable energy. The project is funded with US$3.9m of a Partnerships for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) grant from the National Science Foundation (English).



Quote of the Week


“El trabajo del novelista es hacer visible lo invisible con palabras.”


“The job of the novelist is to make the invisible visible with words.”



– Miguel Ángel Asturias (1899-1972), Nobel Prize-winning Guatemalan poet and diplomat.



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