The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


September 23, 2019 edition– Colombia’s renewable auction; Tullow and Hess’ discoveries; and Haiti’s and Cuba’s fuel shortage.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Bridgestone will build a power substation in Costa Rica; overloading in Honduras left Central America in the dark; and Panamá issued its first ever green bond.


Greater Antilles. Jamaica discusses PCJ’s operations; Haiti and Cuba are suffering fuel shortages; and the Dominican Republic suffered blackouts too.


Lesser Antilles. The Bahamas’ Dorian oil spill opened up queries; Caribbean utilities have a new plan to fight storms; and Bermuda raised its debt ceiling.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Tullow’s discovery opened a new Upper Tertiary oil play in the Guyana basin; all eyes are set on the Colombian renewable energy auction; and PetroChina will no longer import Venezuela’s crude, but China will.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in oil exploration in Guyana-Suriname Basin (English); small-scale LNG markets (English); Venezuela’s intervention in a private bank (English).



Political Economy


Jamaica and Bermuda work on their debt. Jamaica paid US$1.2bn to repurchase part of its foreign debt to save on annual interest payments (English). Meanwhile, Bermuda’s Finance Minister presented legislation to raise Bermuda’s debt ceiling by US$250m, reaching US$2.75bn, in order to pay lenders for a hotel and condominium project (English).


The Dominican Republic and Taiwan may reconcile. Taiwan’s Foreign Relations Minister said the Dominican Republic could re-establish relations with Taiwan as China has not fulfilled its promises to the Caribbean nation (Spanish). China promised to invest US$3bn in projects.


The IMF visited Jamaica and Guyana. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) congratulated Jamaica on its successful completion of the economic reform program supported by the Stand-By Arrangement (English). The IMF expects Guyana’s economic growth to reach 4.4% in 2019 and oil production in 2020 is projected to improve the country’s medium- and long-term outlook (English).


Panamá issued its first ever green bond. Panamá issued the first green bond by the InterAmerican Corporation for Infrastructure Financing (CIFI) (English). CIFI used MMG Bank to allocate the US$200m bond.




Editorial Interlude


Our website just got a makeover, including an all-new archive for The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean. Subscribers can now search individual blurbs from past editions and filter the results by date, country, topic, sector, and source.


We think it’s pretty nifty, but check it out here for yourself!


  • The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean team




Oil & Gas Upstream


SBM Offshore and ExxonMobil partnered up on FPSO orders. SBM Offshore and ExxonMobil signed a long-term agreement to cover future FPSO orders (English). The agreement is non-exclusive and includes Build-Operate-Transfer projects, which generally cover a short lease term. Relations between both companies started in the 1970s.


Tullow’s discovery opened a new Upper Tertiary oil play in the Guyana basin. Tullow Oil PLC said the Joe-1 exploration well found 14m of net oil pay in a high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoir with a high porosity of Upper Tertiary age (English). It also found 52 feet of continuous thick sandstone.


Jamaica discuss PCJ’s operations. Jamaica’s government has reportedly decided to close the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica (PCJ) and transfer its functions to the Mining, Energy, and Technology Ministry (English). The Energy Minister said the process would take some time to be completed (English).


Hess made another discovery at the Tripletail-1 well. Hess announced the 14th discovery made with Exxon at the Tripletail-1 well on the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana (English). Tripletail-1 encountered 108 feet of a high-quality, oil-bearing sandstone reservoir.



Oil & Gas Downstream


Jamaica is ready to provide marine gas oil. Jamaica’s Energy Minister said Petrojam has made all the relevant infrastructural preparations to ensure the switchover to provide low-sulfur marine gas oil (English). The container shipping industry is worried over the sufficient availability of low-sulfur fuel for shipping lines (English).


Haiti’s fuel shortage is turning into a political crisis… Protesters burned tires and barricaded streets, demanding the government solve the fuel crisis and the president’s resignation (English). Banks, government offices, and schools closed amid the protests, and public transportation is shut down.


…and Cuba is suffering fuel shortages too. Cubans are waiting in line for hours at gas stations as a fuel shortage is starting to hit customers (English). The government has taken a series of measures to ensure basic services (suspending train and bus services) while October oil shipments are guaranteed.


A Dorian-inflicted oil spill opened up inquiries. The Bahamas Agricultural and Industrial Corporation (BAIC) officials visited the South Riding Point terminal to assess the oil spill and Hurricane Dorian’s damage (English). Oban Energies still trusts the environmental soundness of its oil storage and refinery project despite warnings after the Dorian spill (English).


El Salvador paid less for fuel. In the first eight months of 2019, El Salvador paid US$1bn for fuel products, 6% less than in the same period in the previous year (Spanish). El Salvador’s total imports reached US$8bn, US$294.5m more than in 2018.


PetroChina will no longer import Venezuela’s crude, but China will. PetroChina will suspend direct purchases of Venezuelan crude by October to comply with US sanctions (English). China will continue procuring Venezuelan oil through independent refiners. China’s crude imports from Venezuela fell to 9.39m mt between January and July 2019.



Renewables & Electricity


All eyes are set on the Colombian renewable energy auction. Colombia said 27 companies are interested in participating in its auction of large-scale solar and wind projects (English). The auction will be held by the end of October, and the list of bidders include Acciona, Solarpack, Cobra, EDF, and Enel, among others.


Caribbean utilities have a new plan to fight storms. The Rocky Mountain Institute and the Bahamas power utilities are working to enhance resiliency after Hurricane Dorian’s effect on its power grids (English).  Planned actions include replacing equipment and transmission structures, installing grid automation, and deploying self-healing devices.


Bridgestone will build a power substation in Costa Rica. Bridgestone announced that the Costa Rican Power Institute and Siemens will be in charge of the construction of a power substation in its tire production plant (Spanish). The plant will require an investment of US$17m.


Overloading in Honduras left Central America in the dark… A failure in the transmission line left Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala without power (Spanish). The reason was overcharging in the Honduran national transmission grid.


…and the Dominican Republic suffered blackouts too. The Southern Electricity Distribution Company (Edesur) blamed two power plants that are out of service and three working in a limited capacity for the blackouts in the country that have lasted up to 15 hours a day (English).



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.


Blue Economy Caribbean 2019 is scheduled for October 15 at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami.


11th Caribbean Renewable Energy Forum will be held October 16-18 at the JW Marriott Marquis in Miami.



Lateral Thinking


The Mico University College will run on sun. MPC Capital and the Mico Foundation signed a memorandum of understanding for the installation of a rooftop solar PV facility at The Mico University College in Jamaica. The installation will start generating power in the second quarter of 2020 (English).



Quote of the Week


“These people are no better or no worse than people anywhere, anything that you can do to help them, help them and you will be surprised to know how they will help you.”


– Lorna Goodison (1947), Jamaican poet.




We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or solar roof plans 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]