The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


September 24, 2018 edition–The DR power crunch; Ecopetrol’s strike; and Guatemala’s exports.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Guatemala exports more power; and El Salvador will spend more than expected.


Greater Antilles. United Oil and Gas will fund Jamaica’s new ventures; the Dominican Republic will survive the electricity crunch; and Haiti is after total transparency in PetroCaribe.


Lesser Antilles. Petrotrin will let all workers from the refinery go; Bermuda will review how it calculates electricity tariffs; and questions surround Trinidad and Venezuela’s agreement.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Ecopetrol’s strike continues; Guyanese are being trained for oilfield services; and the CEOG and Meridiam partnered up on a power plant.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the Bahamas plant at Clifton Pier (English); the Dominican Republic’s blackouts (Spanish); and Petrotrin’s replacement (English).



Political Economy


Cuba’s president wants to talk with Trump as equals. President Miguel Díaz-Canel said that he could not talk with US President Trump as long as the Trump’s administration maintains an “abnormal” attitude toward Cuba (English). Díaz-Canel wants a dialogue between “equals.”


El Salvador will spend more than expected. The government has spent ES$512.2m more than previously estimated due to the electoral process and a higher payment of the debt (Spanish). The 2018 budget approved for the Legislative Assembly was ES$5.4bn.


Jamaica’s IMF chief worries about inflation. The International Monetary Fund’s mission chief to Jamaica pointed to inflation as the country’s main economic concern, rather than the depreciation of the Jamaican dollar (English). The inflation goal for the fiscal year is between 4% and 6%, while annual inflation was about 3.2% in July.


Concerned with security, Maduro may skip the UN assembly. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is considering whether or not to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. Maduro mentioned concerns around his safety as a reason not to attend (English).


Trump questions Puerto Rico’s storm death toll. US President Trump disputed Puerto Rico’s official death toll of 3,000 from the hurricanes that hit the island last year. President Trump accused Democrats of inflating the figure obtained in an independent academic study (English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Questions surround Trinidad and Venezuela’s gas agreement. When the announcement of the agreement was made, no party mentioned who will be financing the US$100m or the price and terms on which Trinidad would obtain the gas (English). Shell holds the right to drill on the Dragon Field and is a shareholder in the Hibiscus Platform.


Guyanese are being trained for oilfield services. TOTALTEC Oilfield Services are training a third group of recruits in August for oilfield services (English). The company expects to have 100 trainees graduate by the end of the year.


United Oil and Gas will fund Jamaica’s new ventures. Analysts expect a public share offering of UKP3m in gross proceeds to fund United Oil and Gas’s development work, including drilling costs at the Colter well and reprocessing the 3D seismic data in Jamaica (English).


Ecopetrol’s strike continues. The union of the Oil Industry confirmed that an agreement has not yet been reached with Ecopetrol (Spanish). Two thousand workers on contract with Ecopetrol went on strike at La Cifa-Infantas oil field and forced the halt of 19 drilling rigs (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


US Coast Guard prepares for a Bermuda oil spill. Representatives from the US Coast Guard are in Bermuda assessing how to help in case of a major oil spill (English). The visit is the result of an agreement signed by both countries in 1976.


Haiti is after total transparency in PetroCaribe. President Jovenel Moise asked Prime Minister Jean-Henry Céant to ensure transparency in the investigation of the use of funds under the PetroCaribe initiative (English). Haitians have protested the billions of US dollars that have been spent from the Venezuela oil program.


Petrotrin will let all workers from the refinery go. The state-owned oil company said that all employees will lose their jobs when the company shuts down the oil refinery (English). Petrotrin does not know if the skills that will be required for the new exploration and production division are available within the company.


Guatemala goes after fraudulent gas stations. The Energy and Mines Ministry and the Tax Administration are checking gas stations to avoid speculation in fuel prices (Spanish). The Consumer Assistance Direction sanctioned a gas station in the capital for anomalies in the fuel pumps.



Renewables & Electricity


French Guiana CEOG and Meridiam partnered up on power plant. The Centrale Électrique de l’Ouest Guyanais has Meridiam, a long-term investor, as a new equity partner hitting the gas on the project, scheduled for 2020 (English). The CEOG power plant will power up 10,000 households in French Guiana.


Guatemala exports more power. Guatemala’s central bank estimates that between January and July, power sales exports amounted to US$81.7m, 36% more than in the first seven months of 2017 (Spanish). The reasons are the difficulties in a power generating plant in Costa Rica and the growing demand in the region.


A shipping company joined wind farms in the Dominican Republic. The Marítima Dominicana shipping company will participate in the construction of wind farms at Agua Clara and Guanillo (English). Approximately 70,000 households will be powered by the plants.


The Dominican Republic will survive the electricity crunch. Ten of the 20 biggest power plants are generating less than scheduled by the sector, but officials say that it has been compensated by seven plants (English) (Spanish). The national grid has been stable after the unexplained failure of AES Andrés after being hit by lightning (Spanish).


Bermuda will review its electricity tariff calculations. The Regulatory Authority is suggesting changes in the calculation of power rates, considering “cost efficiency incentives” with “the traditional rate-of-return model” (English). The goal is to promote affordable electricity prices to users.



Old School Social


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


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


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



Lateral Thinking


Scientists figure out the DNA of a poisonous frog. Scientists have cracked the DNA of the cane toad, native to South and Central America, but which has invaded Australia, Oceania, and certain Caribbean islands (English). The goal was to gain insight about the cane toad and to simplify future genetic studies on other toads.



Quote of the Week


“Life always holds in store surprises that are more complex and unforeseeable than any dream, and the secret is to let them come and not block them with castles in the air.”




– Álvaro Mutis (1923-2013), Colombian poet, novelist, and essayist.



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