The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean

September 25, 2017 edition— Colombia plans a 15-block auction; Barbuda will shine brighter; and Honduras opens an 820MW tender.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Belize’s APBEL ends its agreement with Venezuela’s PDVSA; Honduras is ready for an international 820MW bidding; and MEM okayed the third extension for Trecsa.


Greater Antilles. Hurricane Maria left Puerto Rico in the dark while Cuba got its power back.


Lesser Antilles. Barbuda will go green and Barbados is concerned over regional oil and gas exploration.


Northern South America. Venezuelan is selling oil for yuan and Colombia planned November’s 15-block auction.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in CDB’s assistance to Haiti (English).



Political Economy


Hurricane Maria left Puerto Rico powerless and 6 people dead in Dominica. After Hurricane Maria ravaged Dominica, six persons were confirmed dead and the Dominica PM declared a state of emergency (English) (English). Puerto Rico’s grid was knocked out, leaving many without light or unable to pump water or power refrigerators (English).


…and Hurricane Irma’s damages are still being counted. The Caribbean Credit Bureau provided funds for affected islands and made the call to eliminate taxes on hurricane relief supplies (English). French President Emmanuel Macron promised to rebuild St Martin’s infrastructure even stronger and adapted to the risks (English).


The IMF had a busy week in Belize and Bahamas. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded Article IV Consultation with Belize, pointing to negative developments in its economy, including slowdown in oil production (English). The IMF also said the Bahamas’ economy remained weak in 2016 (English).


The World Council and the IDB back the Caribbean after hurricanes. The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) activated a Caribbean Relief Fund to support the areas affected by Hurricane Irma (English). The Inter-American Development Bank offered to support the Bahamas with US$200,000 in emergency grant funds (English).


CARICOM is divided over Venezuela’s politics. General Secretary of the Organization of American States Dr. Luis Almagro is concerned over the split among CARICOM members over Venezuela’s crisis (English). During a OAS meeting, some countries voted against the condemning declaration as many Caribbean nations depend on cheap oil from Venezuela.



Oil & Gas Upstream


T&T oil company denies the “fake oil” controversy. A&V Oil and Gas Limited condemned a Petrotrin audit report, considering it “reckless and calculated to irreparably damage” its reputation (English). A&V sent a pre-action protocol letter to Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar’s attorney over her claims at a political meeting (English).


Barbados is concerned about regional oil and gas exploration. The Barbados government urged a regional approach to offshore oil and gas exploration (English). The Energy Minister, Darcy Boyce, pointed to the need to collaborate, share experiences, and make regional decisions on legislation and regulations.


ExxonMobil informed Guyana’s president about its exploration developments. ExxonMobil’s President briefed David Granger, Guyana’s president, on the company’s progress in oil exploration (English). The goal is to promote transparency and accountability in the oil exploration process.


Colombia is ready for a 15-block auction. Colombia’s National Hydrocarbons Agency plans a pre-qualification audit ahead of the 15-block auction scheduled for November and 50 companies will be selected (English). The government expects to attract more than US$300m in investment, extending its hydrocarbon self-sufficiency by five years (English).



Oil & Gas Downstream


APBEL ends its agreement with Venezuela’s PDVSA. After consulting Belize’s government, the Alba PetroCaribe Belize Energy Limited (APBEL) suspended the agreement with Venezuela’s PDVSA under the PetroCaribe programme (English). Many Caribbean countries joined the PetroCaribe agreement to purchase oil from Venezuela with preferential payment conditions.


Venezuela’s oil is up and the government registered prices in yuan. Venezuela’s oil ministry announced that the crude barrel closed at 306.26 yuans (46.75 dollars), an increase compared to the 46.14 dollars in the previous period (Spanish). Venezuela’s Hydrocarbon prices will be announced in Chinese currency from now on to avoid the US financial system.


Guatemala’s MEM expects oil prices to fall. Guatemala’s Energy and Mines Ministry (MEM) expects oil prices to fall because of the changing international market and the MEM’s market monitoring actions (Spanish). The drop can fluctuate between 50 and 70 cents.


El Salvador’s LPG subsidy is up for discussion. The Finance Ministry said the delay in the propane gas subsidy is due to a “flow problem” that is expected to be resolved soon (Spanish). The delay affects consumers which are paying the product at market prices (Spanish).


Indian Essar Oil relies on Venezuela. Indian private refiner Essar Oil’s imports from Venezuela more than doubled, reaching 172,000 bpd from about 63,000 bpd in July (English). Reuters informed last year that Rosneft planned to supply Venezuelan oil to the Vadinar refinery in western India.



Renewables & Electricity


Holguín got its power back. Cuba’s power was reestablished up to 99% by Sept.8 after Hurricane Irma struck Cuba’s north coast (Spanish). The clients that are still in the dark are in difficult to access rural communities in San Andrés and near Báguano.


Honduras opened an international 820MW auction. Honduras is offering to buy 820MW of capacity divided in four sub-blocks from January 27, 2018 to January 27, 2028 (Spanish). Bunker (690MW), diesel (40MW), and mixed generation (renewable and non-renewable up until 90MW) will be contracted.


Guatemala’s MEM finally okayed the third extension for Trecsa. Guatemala’s Energy and Mines Ministry offered the Transportadora de Energía de Centroamérica S.A. (Trecsa) an extension until 2020, as a ratification of its commitment to finish the project (Spanish). The 866km transmission project is 64% completed.


Antigua & Barbuda and the United Arab Emirates go green. The governments of Antigua and Barbuda signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates to help Barbuda transition to green energy (English). The project will include the installation of an 800KW hybrid solar photovoltaic battery system.


Guatemala’s energy market relies on hydroelectric plants. In July 66% of Guatemala’s electricity came from hydroelectric plants and 73% from renewable energy sources (Spanish). Compared to 2016, energy demand has increased, especially in April with a 3% increase in power demand.



Lateral Thinking


Archeologists found evidence of the 1755 Portuguese quake and tsunami in the Caribbean. In Martinique, archeologists are excavating the tsunami deposit from Portugal’s Nov. 1, 1755 earthquake (English). Deposits of sand 8 centimeters thick have been found in Fort-de-France, proving the tsunami arrived across the Atlantic Ocean.



Quote of the Week


“Los puertorriqueños estaban acostumbrados a transitar de isla en isla y de continente en continente como aves cuya condición natural era tránsito.”


“Puerto Ricans are used to moving from island to island and from continent to continent as birds whose natural condition was movement.”


-Rosario Ferré (1938-2016), Puerto Rican writer, poet, and essayist




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