The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean

September 18, 2017 edition— Colombian voters don’t like oil projects; Petrotrin is accused of fraud; and Monte Plata Solar is ready for its second phase.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Nicaragua’s fuel prices forecast went up and down again; the Coopelesca plant is losing money; and Honduras and El Salvador suffered an increase in fuel prices.


Greater Antilles. Jamaica goes all in on LNG; Monte Plata Solar’s second phase is ready to start construction; and Cienfuegos power suffered Irma’s wrath.


Lesser Antilles. Energy Minister defended Petrojam’s new fuel prices; Petrotin agreed to an energy transparency pact, while being accused of fraud; and T&T programmed natural gas venting.


Northern South America. Colombia’s communities are voting against oil projects.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the Dominican Republic’s fuel price increase (English); Central America’s potential for geothermal energy (Spanish); and Dominica’s geothermal project (English).



Political Economy


Colombia’s consultations hit oil production. More than 40 communities are voting in local referendums to block oil and mining projects (English). With oil production dropping, Colombia needs new discoveries to remain an energy exporter.


Fitch backed up the BCIE. The international rating agency raised the rating of long-term international risk of the Central American Bank of Economic Integration (BCIE), from A to A+, leaving the short-term rating at F1 (Spanish). Both ratings were assigned a stable perspective.


IDB and CDB had a busy week over the Caribbean. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) announced a new cycle of engagement with Haiti (English). The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) was impressed by Jamaica’s US$20m economic reform program for micro, small, and medium enterprises between the Jamaican government and the IDB (English).


The DR’s industrial sector said the electricity pact can help the energy crisis. The Herrera and Santo Domingo Industrial Association (AEIH) trusts the government, businesses, social society, and the unions and political parties can dialogue to approve the Electric Pact (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


T&T’s Energy Chamber is concerned over Petrotrin’s fraud allegations. The Energy Chamber demanded a speedy conclusion to the internal investigations of fraud allegations related to the transfer and sale of oil from A&V Drilling to Petrotrin (English). The Energy Chamber is concerned the accusations will discredit the lease and farmout contract system (English).


T&T programmed natural gas venting. The National Gas Company of Trinidad & Tobago Limited (NGC) notified the public that the Sasenarine Service Station was venting natural gas in a controlled manner on September 10 to facilitate the modification of the existing station (English). The activity posed no danger to the public and NGC personnel supervised the process.


LNG is in vogue in Jamaica. Heavy energy consumers Jamaico, Red Stripe, and the UWI police car fleet are planning to convert to LNG, one of the cleanest fossil fuels (English). The Jamaican government plans to transform the island into the central LNG hub for supplying the region.


Petrotin agreed to an energy transparency pact. Petrotrin signed the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) with the Ministry of Energy and major oil and gas companies (English). The goal is to make oil revenue information accessible to the public following an independent, internationally recognized transparency process.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Harvey pushed regional fuel prices to 2015 levels… El Salvador’s Economy Ministry announced increases of SV$0.19 per gallon, a level not seen since August 2015 (Spanish). Honduras’ fuel prices increased by between one and seven US cents  (Spanish). The Dominican Republic suffered an increase in diesel, propane and gasoline prices (English).


…and Nicaragua suffered a fuel price roller-coaster. Oil companies’ representatives corrected their fuel price projections after announcing a new increase (Spanish) (Spanish). Fuel prices were ultimately reduced between NIO$0.03 and NIO$1.5 per liter.


Jamaica’s Energy Minister defended Petrojam’s new fuel prices. Energy Minister Dr. Andrew Wheatley discussed accusations of unfair pricing against Petrojam, when fuel prices reached US$3.41 per liter (English). Petrojam justified the hike with the impact of Hurricane Harvey on oil refineries in the US Gulf Coast.


Propane will be available at DR gas stations. The Dominican Fuel Industry Companies Association (Adeic) announced gas stations which comply with safety standards will sell propane gas (English). Studies will be conducted to determine suitable fuel stations and the goal is to modernize the Dominican Republic’s vehicular park.



Renewables & Electricity


Costa Rica’s Coopelesca plant has trouble with the landlord. Congressman Ottón Solís demanded the Rural Development Institute stop renting its lands to the San Carlos Rural Power Cooperative hydroelectric plant (Coopelesca) (Spanish). Coopelesca bought the hydroelectric plant for CR$35.3m, although its worth is estimated to be closer to CR$12m.


DR officials said Punta Catalina was not flooded. The general manager at the Dominican Republic’s Punta Catalina Power Plant assured that Hurricane Irma did not damage or delay its construction (English) (Spanish). The National Committee to Combat Climate Change had warned of floods at the plant for several days.


Irma left Cuba’s Cienfuegos in the dark. Due to technical limitations, the Yaguaramas and Junco Sur power plants failed and a power source to reactivate the Carlos Manuel de Céspedes thermoelectric plant has not been found (Spanish).


The second phase of Monte Plata Solar is ready to start. Representatives of Curacao’s government and businesses visited the Monte Plata solar plant which provides 33MW of clean energy (Spanish). The second phase of the project will start construction in the last quarter of 2017, with the project becoming the largest solar project in the Caribbean (English).


Puerto Rico’s electric utility is under scrutiny. The manufacturers association (PRMA) and the Chamber of Food Marketing, Industry & Distribution demand the privatization of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (Prepa) (English). Prepa asked the federal court for an order to reject its power purchase agreement, fuel supply, and other commodity contracts (English).



Lateral Thinking


Climate change threatens Latin American coffee. Seed production in Latin American zones favorable for growing coffee could drop by nearly 90% by 2050 due to climate change (English). High quality coffees are most at risk for being more sensible to slight fluctuations in temperature, humidity and sunlight.



Quote of the Week


“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.”


– Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014), Colombian novelist and Nobel Prize winner




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