Guyana Oil Find Quadruples FDI Flows

(Jamaica Gleaner, CMC, 8.Aug.2018) – Regional commission ECLAC is reporting that foreign direct investments, FDI, in Guyana increased to US$212 million last year in part as a result of the oil and gas sector preparing for First Oil.

The flows nearly quadrupled relative to 2016 when foreign investments in the country were estimated at US$58 million.

Guyana has “bucked the trend” for flows to Latin America and the Caribbean as a region, which contracted 3.6 per cent last year, said the Economic Commission for Latin America.

“FDI grew in all sectors, except in manufacturing,” said ECLAC in a report on regional FDI flows. “The energy sector received US$90 million as part of a first wave of inward FDI related to ExxonMobil’s discovery of major oil reserves off Guyana’s coast. While it continues with its successful exploration efforts, ExxonMobil decided to launch the first development phase of the Liza field with an investment of US$4.4 billion,” the report added.

ExxonMobil expects to begin oil extraction in 2020.

The report also noted that Guyana hopes to take advantage of the international interest in the oil finds to promote other sectors, such as agriculture and mining.

“In the latter, Canadian mining company First Bauxite Corporation announced a bauxite production project valued at US$50 million, with construction of facilities set to begin in 2018,” ECLAC said.

Meanwhile, Guyana is putting together a list of priority projects it wishes to complete with resources provided under the China Belt and Road Initiative.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed with China, Minister of State Joseph Harmon said at a press briefing that Guyana will be able to tap into resources from the Belt and Road, which is intended to make available resources to recipient countries for projects related to transportation, and information and communications technology.

Guyana has now joined Panama, Bolivia, Trinidad & Tobago and Antigua & Barbuda as countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that have signed on to the initiative.


Sempra Energy Forms North American Infrastructure Group

(Sempra Energy, 8.Aug.2018) – Sempra Energy formed a new operating group for its North American infrastructure businesses and named Carlos Ruiz Sacristán chairman and CEO of the group, Sempra North American Infrastructure. Ruiz has served as chairman and CEO of Sempra Energy’s Mexican operating subsidiary, Infraestructura Energética Nova, S.A.B. de C.V. (IEnova) (BMV: IENOVA) since 2012.

Ruiz and the new Sempra North American Infrastructure group will report to Joseph A. Householder, president and chief operating officer of Sempra Energy. The group will encompass Sempra Energy’s Mexican operations contained within IEnova, Sempra LNG & Midstream’s existing operations, including Cameron LNG and all other liquefied natural gas (LNG) development and marketing activities.

As part of his new role, Ruiz will continue to serve as executive chairman of the board of directors of IEnova.

“Carlos Ruiz has overseen exceptional growth at IEnova, including its successful initial public offering in Mexico in 2013,” said Jeffrey W. Martin, CEO of Sempra Energy. “This new streamlined organizational structure will better align our non-utility operations to serve our global customers, and develop and execute projects even more effectively.”

“I’m honored and excited to serve in this new role at Sempra Energy and to continue my close involvement with IEnova,” said Ruiz. “We’ve built a strong and deep leadership team at IEnova and I will be devoting my full attention to growing Sempra Energy’s North American infrastructure business.”

Previously, Ruiz was a member of Sempra Energy’s board of directors from 2007 to 2012, when he became chairman and CEO of IEnova. Ruiz served as Mexico’s Secretary of Communications and Transportation during the administration of Dr. Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León from 1994 to 2000. Previously he served in various positions at the Central Bank (Banco de Mexico) from 1974 to 1988, the Ministry of Finance from 1988 to 1992, and Petróleos Mexicanos in 1994. He currently is a member of the board of directors of Southern Copper Corp, Banco Ve por Más, S.A de C.V., Grupo Creatica, S.A. de C.V., member of the Technical Committee of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museum and a member of the Technical Committee Trust of Museo Nacional de Energía y Tecnología.

Ruiz, 68, holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Anahuac University in Mexico City and a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University in Chicago.

Tania Ortiz Mena, 48, will succeed Ruiz as CEO of IEnova, effective Sept. 1. Ortiz will report to Ruiz and will be nominated to serve on IEnova’s board of directors. Ortiz has served as IEnova’s chief development officer since 2014 and has held a range of leadership positions with IEnova since joining the company in 2000, including vice president for business development and external affairs, vice president of external affairs and director for government and regulatory affairs. Previously, Ortiz worked for PMI, Pemex’s international trading subsidiary.

Ortiz is a board member of Oncor Electric Delivery Co. and the Mexican Natural Gas Association, as well as vice president of the board for the World Energy Council – Mexico Chapter, member of the Energy Regulatory Commission Advisory Board and member of the Mexican Council for International Relations.

Octávio M. Simões, 59, currently president of Sempra LNG & Midstream, has been promoted to president and CEO of that company, reporting to Ruiz. Simões and his team will focus on maximizing the value of the company’s LNG opportunities. Simões also will continue in his role as chairman of Cameron LNG, LLC., the joint venture of which Sempra owns 50 percent. He has served as president of Sempra LNG & Midstream since 2012. Previously he was vice president of commercial development for Sempra LNG, where he was responsible for marketing the capacity of LNG receipt terminals, developing LNG facilities, securing LNG supply, securing shipping and acquiring equity positions in liquefaction plants. Prior to that, Simões served as vice president of asset management and vice president of planning and analysis for Sempra Generation, and in senior positions with Earth Tech and NEERI.

Justin C. Bird, 47, currently vice president of gas infrastructure and special counsel for Sempra Energy, has been named chief development officer for the Sempra North American Infrastructure group. In his new role reporting to Ruiz, Bird will be responsible for activities related to project development for all current and future LNG and midstream projects.

Amy Chiu, 52, vice president of asset management for Sempra LNG & Midstream, has been named chief asset management officer for the Sempra North American Infrastructure group. In her new role, Chiu will oversee Cameron LNG joint-venture management, Energía Costa Azul joint-venture management and LNG operations.

Kathryn J. Collier, 50, vice president and treasurer for Sempra Energy, has been appointed chief financial officer and chief administrative officer for the Sempra North American Infrastructure group. In her new role, she will oversee accounting, economic and financial modeling, human resources, information technology and procurement for the new operating group.

All of the organizational changes described above are effective Aug. 25, unless noted otherwise.


Venezuela, Saudi Arabia Discuss Partnerships

Venezuela’s Manuel Quevedo and Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Venezuela Saad Bin Abdullah al Saad in Caracas. Source: PDVSA

(Energy Analytics Institute, Ian Silverman, 8.Aug.2018) — Officials from both OPEC countries discussed existing energy partnerships during their meeting in Caracas.

Venezuela was represented by its Petroleum Minister Manuel Quevedo, while Saudi Arabia was represented by its Ambassador to Venezuela Saad Bin Abdullah al Saad, reported PDVSA in an official statement.

The officials discussed issues related to the petroleum markets as well as immediate work actions related to petroleum projects of joint interest between both countries.


Ecopetrol Names New Corporate VP of Finance

Jaime Caballero Uribe. Source: Ecopetrol

(Ecopetrol, 8.Aug.2018) – Ecopetrol S.A. announced appointment of Jaime Caballero Uribe as the new Corporate Vice President of Finance (Chief Financial Officer).

The appointment is effective as of August 7, 2018.

Mr. Caballero has more than 20 years of experience with companies in the oil and gas sector, both in Colombia and abroad. He has served as Ecopetrol’s CFO for the Downstream Segment since July 2017. During this period he has also represented Ecopetrol at the Board of Directors of Propilco and Gases del Caribe, among other companies.

His experience prior to Ecopetrol includes 17 years at BP plc, where he held leadership positions in Colombia, North America, Africa and Europe, most recently as CFO for the Brazil region (encompassing Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia and Venezuela).

Mr. Caballero is an attorney with a degree from the Universidad de los Andes (Colombia). He has an MBA in Energy Business from the Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil), and has carried out executive studies in advanced financial management at Duke University and Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania).

Mr. Caballero will be the compliance agent for financial reporting to the Colombian Finance Superintendency and the international markets.


Helmerich & Payne Wins Right to Sue Venezuela

(Energy Analytics Institute, Piero Stewart, 8.Aug2018) – U.S. drilling company Helmerich & Payne won a judgment from the U.S. Court of Appeal to sue Venezuela for the expropriation of the company’s investments in Venezuela.

This was only a preliminary jurisdictional issue, not a money judgment, mind you — just the right to sue Venezuela after almost 7 years of litigation! H&P has not even gotten to present the heart of the case yet, writes Caracas Capital Markets Managing Partner Russ Dallen in an emailed note to clients.

Unless Venezuela asks for an en banc hearing before the whole Court of Appeals (the Court of Appeals denied an en banc hearing on the case’s first trip through in 2015) and/or appeals it to the Supreme Court, the case will now return to the U.S. District Court for the more substantial hearings.

This all began when Venezuela stopped paying H&P and finally on June 30, 2010, when Helmerich and Payne’s Venezuelan subsidiary and all its property and equipment (including 11 drills) were seized by the Venezuelan government, concluded Dallen, also the Editor-in-Chief of Latin America Herald Tribune.


Republic Bank Opens Solar-Powered Branch in Barbados

Republic Bank (Barbados) has opened an eco-friendly branch at One Barbados Place, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados. Fully powered by an ultra-modern photovoltaic system (PV), this is the only solar-powered banking facility in Barbados. Photo Courtesy of Republic Bank

(Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, Sasha Harrinanan, 8.Aug.2018) – Barbados has its first ever solar-powered banking facility – the newest branch of Republic Bank (Barbados) at One Barbados Place in Warrens, St Michael.

The branch is part of the bank’s Going Green initiative – launched in 2017, and features an ultra-modern photovoltaic system (PV) which was designed to supply solar power to the entire building. The PV system is mounted on an equally modern 28-vehicle car park, which includes two charging stations for electric cars.”

Opened to the public on July 30, Republic Bank said the branch provides customers with “the full suite of retail and premium banking services, including three Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), one of which was specially designed to facilitate the differently abled and a drive-through ATM, as well.”

The bank said moving to an eco-friendly branch helps propel it and Barbados closer to a more holistic, environmentally and economically friendly business focus.

Republic Bank also said the branch is a reflection of its commitment to setting the standard for service excellence across the region and of its dedication to being a socially responsible member of the corporate community.


Unsealing Crystallex/PDVSA Documents

(Energy Analytics Institute, Ian Silverman, 8.Aug.2018) – Chief Judge Stark of the US Federal District Court in Delaware immediately agreed with our arguments calling out the abuse of sealing by Crystallex, Venezuela and PDVSA,  writes Caracas Capital Markets Managing Partner Russ Dallen in an emailed note to clients.

He entered our letter into the Docket and Ordered everything unsealed if Counsel cannot justify (“specifically”) the sealing by 3pm tomorrow:

ORAL ORDER: With reference to the letter received today from the Latin American Herald Tribune, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that, no later than tomorrow, August 9, at 3:00 p.m. local time, any party (including the intervenor) who wishes for any portion of the record or any filing to remain under seal file a request to that effect and SHOW CAUSE to support the request. Any such request must be specific as to the type of information for which continued sealing is requested and shall provide for filing of redacted versions of any materials that currently remain unredacted as soon as possible. In the absence of cause being shown, the Court will unseal the entirety of the record in this case, including all filings. ORDERED by Judge Leonard P. Stark on 8/8/18. (ntl) (Entered: 08/08/2018)

We have a voracious and insatiable appetite for truth — which is probably what makes us the best at covering Venezuela as well as other issues for our clients, writes Dallen.

“As a result, this morning we spoke with U.S. Federal District Court for Delaware Chief Judge Stark’s chambers and filed this Intervenor Letter (our 2nd in this Crystallex case) calling for the unsealing of documents that Crystallex, PDVSA and hedge fund Tenor Capital were abusively sealing,” concluded Dallen.