The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


September 30, 2019 edition– Costa Rica’s oil exploration; OWTU’s purchase; and GeoPark’s discovery.




Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. El Salvador cut the ribbon on a solar plant; Central America’s grid requires investment; and Costa Rica could vote on oil exploration.


Greater Antilles. Haiti and the Dominican Republic asked for RFG and bidders, respectively; and the Dominican Republic enjoys a new wind farm.


Lesser Antilles. OWTU will purchase Petrotrin; Abaco is not sure how to pay for fuel; and Barbuda will rely on green power.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. GeoPark made an oil discovery on Colombia’s Llanos 34; Venezuela’s Orinoco Belt crude production keeps falling; and the US sanctioned companies moving Venezuelan oil into Cuba.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in the Dominican Republic’s blackouts (English); Petrojam’s readiness to supply fuel (English); and Caribbean utilities’ plan to decentralize resources (English).



Political Economy


The CIBC and the Dominican Republic will help the Bahamas recover. The CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank made a US$100,000 donation to the Bahamas Red Cross and financial concessions (English). The Dominican Navy boat Didiez Burgos sailed with 35 tons of food and medicine, as well as 62 members of the Dominican military, to help in the rescue efforts (English).


The IMF is still waiting to hear about Venezuela’s economy. Article IV consultation with Venezuela is delayed by 163 months (English), and only informal sessions to brief the Executive Board are routinely held every 12 months for members whose Article IV consultations are delayed by over 18 months.


Mexico and Guatemala will work together on migration. President López Obrador will work with President Alejandro Giammattei to tackle the migration phenomenon (English). Giammattei will take office in January.


Cuba and Venezuela are working on their friendship with Russia. The XVII Session of the Cuban-Russian Bilateral Commission for Economic-Trade and Scientific-Technical Collaboration started with a meeting between both vice presidents (Spanish). Nicolás Maduro met Vladimir Putin to strengthen the historic relations between both nations (Spanish).



Oil & Gas Upstream


Costa Rica could vote on oil exploration. After a court’s decision, Costa Ricans could get a chance to vote on the future of oil and gas exploration in the country (Reuters – English) (El Economista – Spanish). The last ban on exploration was extended through 2050.


GeoPark made an oil discovery on Colombia’s Llanos 34. GeoPark made an oil discovery on Llanos 34 block, potentially opening a new play (English). Additional information is required to determine the stabilized flow rates of the Guaco 1 well and its extension.


The BPC is focused on its first exploratory well. The top executive of the Bahamas Petroleum Company (BPC) pledged that the company is able to finance the B$20m-25m well costs and expects to complete and submit the documents required to obtain the environmental authorization for the well by the end of 2019 (English).


Venezuela’s Orinoco Belt crude production keeps falling. Venezuela’s Orinoco Belt crude production fell from 370,000 barrels per day to 246,000 barrels per day (English). Production levels have dropped due to a lack of tankers for exporting Venezuelan crude oil and a surplus of crude inventories at the marine oil terminals.



Oil & Gas Downstream


The US will consider a natural gas terminal in the Dominican Republic. The US government will pay for the feasibility study for a natural gas terminal in Manzanillo, which will include an LNG regassification plant (English). The US Trade and Development Agency will donate US$1.2m to pay for the study.


OWTU will purchase Petrotrin. A company owned by the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) was chosen as the preferred bidder for the sale of Petrotrin’s refinery for US$700m (English). The OWTU was given a month to present ten deliverables, including the confirmation of its ability to purchase and operate the refinery (English).


FERC okayed the Eagle LNG export facility. The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized Eagle LNG Partners to build the Jacksonville LNG export facility. This project is the only one “devoted to provisioning small-scale LNG projects in the Caribbean basin” (English).


The Dominican Republic suffers oil dependency. Approximately 61.4% of the oil, gasoline, and fuels that entered the Dominican Republic between January and August came from the US (English). The late arrival of fuel oil tankers has caused problems for the country’s power plants (English) and is moving the government to consider boosting renewables (English).


Abaco is concerned with how to pay for fuel. The government has stopped supplying free gasoline to Abaco, a move that Abaco’s residents consider premature. Although several service stations have re-opened, financial services and banking on the island is still out, so residents cannot pay for gasoline (English).


The US sanctioned companies moving Venezuelan oil into Cuba. The US Treasury Department sanctioned four maritime firms for transporting Venezuelan oil into Cuba (English). Despite the US sanctions, Cubametales and other Cuban entities have been receiving oil shipments from Venezuela, according to the US Treasury.



Renewables & Electricity


El Salvador cut the ribbon on a solar plant. Enertiva invested US$500,000 in the installation of 1,238 solar panels to produce 606,700 kWh per year (Spanish). Tuscania, the company developing the buildings where the solar installation is located, expects significant savings in their energy use and will obtain the LEED certification.


Haiti and the Dominican Republic have projects on offer. Haiti published its second RFQ with Energy Cell MTPTC and EDH regarding the North East Grid (English). The Dominican Republic will bid the design and construction of a solar park with an installed capacity of 3MW (Spanish).


Central America’s grid requires investment. Approximately US$200m is required to improve the Central American grid to avoid new interruptions in the system (Spanish). From January until June 2019, 52 environmental impact studies were presented to develop transmission lines and generation plants (Spanish).


The Dominican Republic enjoys a new wind farm. The 34MW Matafongo wind farm is up and running and producing energy with 17 turbines (English) (Spanish). The Banco Popular Dominicano and Banco del Progreso financed the project with US$71m.


Barbuda will rely on green power. The UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, the Caricom Development Fund, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Antigua and Barbuda government will build a resilient renewable energy system on Barbuda after its power infrastructure was destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017 (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


Colombian buses run on electrical power. Cali introduced a fleet of 26 electric buses, and another 110 battery-powered buses are expected to arrive at the end of the year (English). The buses can cover 280km without having to recharge, and they cut the city’s emissions.



Quote of the Week


“Don’t tell me about your life

and I’ll keep mine to myself


we will feel our way along

chewing on our uncertainties.”


– Marie-Célie Agnant (1953), Haiti-born poet, and novelist. Quote from “Vade Mecum.”




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