Barbados Hunting New Suppliers Following Closure of Petrotrin Refinery

(Jamaica Gleaner, 14.Sep.2018) — Barbados says it is holding discussions with a number of suppliers to replace the energy arrangements it had with oil refinery Petrotrin.

The refinery, based in Trinidad & Tobago, is locking down operations, a measure it blamed on increasing financial losses. The closure has led to the retrenchment of more than 1,700 employees.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Barbados National Oil Company Limited, BNOCL, said it currently imports gasolene from and sells its crude oil to Petrotrin, while diesel and fuel oil are sourced extra-regionally. It said kerosene is imported by the oil companies Sol and Rubis.

BNOCL said that at the time of the Petrotrin announcement regarding the closure of the refinery, it was exporting 260,000 barrels of crude oil annually to the Trinidad refinery and importing 60,000 barrels of gasolene on a monthly basis.

It said the annual contract with Petrotrin entailed the exchange of the crude oil for gasolene, which aided in the reduction of the foreign exchange cost, as the value of the crude offset the outlay for the gasolene.

BNOCL said its storage capacity for gasolene is 80,000 barrels. However, as of Wednesday, September 12, its gasolene stock was at 53,582 barrels, “which is enough inventory for 25 days”.

The inventory is expected to rise to 38 days’ supply, when Petrotrin delivers another 30,000 barrels of gasolene on Saturday, September 15.

BNOCL expects to receive its final shipment from Petron over the period September 24-28 of around 30,000 to 35,000 barrels.

Altogether, assuming the shipments arrive as scheduled, the oil company expects to have enough inventory to supply local needs to November 5, assuming a “usage rate of 2,000 barrels a day.”

The Ministry of Energy and Water Resources said that through BNOCL, it has been in discussion with a number of suppliers with a view to employing a similar arrangement to that with Petrotrin.

“The goal is to ensure that this country has a consistent supply of gasolene at an affordable price, while securing a market for Barbados’ crude oil. BNOCL has never had a stock-out of petroleum products and always has adequate inventory to service Barbados, and is ever mindful of the need to do so, particularly during the hurricane season,” the ministry said.

The Mia Mottley-led government also sought to assure Barbadians that “despite the closure of the Petrotrin refinery, there will be no shortage of gasolene in Barbados,” saying it was keeping on top of the situation.


Trinidad Imports 40% of Oil from Russia

(Energy Analytics Institute, Ian Silverman, 27.Aug.2018) —Trinidad and Tobago is relying on Russia as its main source of imported crude oil.

Between January and June 2018, the small twin-island country imported over 15 million barrels of crude oil from the [Petrotrin] refinery. Of that, 40% of the crude oil imports came from Russia, 29% from Colombia, 22% from Gabon, 8% from Canada and 1% from Barbados, announced Trinidad and Tobago’s Energy Chamber in a twitter post.

Caribbean Economist Marla Dukharan commented on the situation in the following twitter post.


Shell Oil Traders Trade One Caribbean Paradise For Another

(Reuters, Julia Payne, 17.Aug.2018) – Royal Dutch Shell’s oil traders in the Caribbean island of Barbados are getting ready for a tough gig – they’re being moved to the Bahamas next month.

The relocation of the oil and gas company’s trading hub for Latin America will make travel to customers in the key region easier for its employees, a company spokeswoman said.

Shell’s oil output in South America jumped sharply in 2016 after it acquired BG Group, which had a large portfolio of assets in Brazil. The country now accounts for about 10 percent of the group’s oil and gas production.

In the first half of 2018, oil production in the region was 335,000 bpd, according to company data. In 2015, South American output was only 38,000 bpd.

“Shell Western Supply and Trading can confirm it is relocating from Barbados to the Bahamas, effective September 2018,” the spokeswoman said.

“The requirement to move arose after the expansion of our customer footprint following the BG integration. As we look to grow our business, the location of the Bahamas will enable us to meet with our customers more frequently.”

In the past the office was primarily focused on west African crude trading, particularly oil out of Nigeria where it has a major presence, a source familiar with the matter said.

The office of about 45 people has many expatriates who handle the whole chain around trading, including the financial side, legal, shipping and operations, the source said.

Brazil remains a key investment focus for Shell, which was awarded more offshore deep-water exploration licenses this year. The country has some of the world’s most enticing offshore geology, with billions of barrels of oil contained beneath a thick layer of salt under the ocean floor.

The allure of the Caribbean’s palm trees and calm, pristine beaches make job openings at Shell’s office among the most coveted, traders said.

(Reporting by Julia Payne Additional reporting by Ron Bousso Editing by David Holmes)


Guyana to Become 5th Largest Oil Producer in LAC Region

(Energy Analytics Institute, Piero Stewart, 15.Aug.2018) – If all goes off as planned, by 2025, Guyana will be the 5th largest oil producer in the Latin American and Caribbean region.

Source: Trading Economics

That’s according to an analysis of data posted by Trading Economics, and extrapolation of estimates of Guyana’s future oil production, as announced by Kevin Ramnarine, the former Energy Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

“Oil production in Guyana is expected to come online at 120,000 barrels per day in 2020 and peak at 750,000 barrels per day by 2025, according to Exxon,” said Ramnarine, now an international petroleum consultant, during a webinar with Guyana’s Minister of Finance, the Honorable Winston Jordan and hosted by Caribbean Economist Marla Dukharan.

Considering initial production of 120,000 barrels per day in 2020, Guyana will first occupy the spot as the 7th largest oil producer in the LAC region, assuming no drastic changes in the other countries’ production profiles over the next couple of years.

However, in the process, by the time peak production is reached five years latter, Guyana will have surpassed OPEC producer Ecuador, assuming production in that country, as well as others, doesn’t experience a drastic decline, as has been the case in Venezuela in recent years.



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.


Caribbean Plugs into Electric-Car Revolution

(Trinidad Express, Sophie Hares, 7.Aug.2018) – With her foot down to show off the acceleration of the zippy electric car, Joanna Edghill spins around the car park before plugging the vehicle into a charging point beneath rows of solar panels converting Caribbean rays into power for the grid.

In the five years since she and her husband started their company Megapower, it has sold 300 electric vehicles and set up 50 charging stations plus a handful of solar car-ports on the 21 mile-long (34 km) island of Barbados.

Read the full story here.


Barbados: A $3 Billion Exercise

(Barbados Today, Marlon Madden, 17.Jul.2018) – It will require an estimated $3 billion worth of investment in a diverse set of renewable energy sources if Barbados is to achieve its goal of 100 per cent renewable energy usage by 2030.

At the same time, officials are predicting that the island could reap as much as $2.5 billion in economic benefits within ten years of becoming 100 per cent dependent on renewable energy sources.

Chief Project Analyst in the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources Brian Haynes said investment was critical if Barbados was serious about achieving its vision for the sector, adding that without diversity “we are not going to make the targets that we are hoping to make”.

“This diversity needs about 545 to about 550 megawatts of power dependent on the configuration that we advance. We are talking about capital investment of between BDS$2.4 to BDS$3 billion. This level of investment is large, but it is not insurmountable because we have a certain amount of liquidity here. We also need to be able to unlock that liquidity to get that investment happening,” Haynes told the opening of a high level round table meeting on the renewable energy industry at the 3W’s Pavilion at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus on Monday.

“With that investment the expectation is, and we are talking about ten years in the future and beyond, BDS$2 billion to BDS$2.5 billion [annually on average] in terms of economic profit. That takes into consideration not only what is done with the firms and businesses and households, but it also the indirect – so those persons who are working and investing [in the sector],” Haynes explained.

A 100 per cent renewable energy policy means that the country would move from its current 944 gigawatt hours (GWH) per year usage to between 2,000 and 2,400 GWH/year.

Data showed that between 2006 and 2015 Barbados was importing an estimated 11,654 barrels of oils per day to meet its needs.

The rate of solar photovoltaic electricity going to the national grid slowed considerably in 2017 to reach a mere 0.01 per cent, after a spike in 2013 when oil prices reached an all-time low of about US$30 a barrel.

Up to the end of 2017, only 3.8 per cent of electricity or 27 megawatts came from solar photovoltaic systems.

Haynes explained that a lack of implementation, a lack of adequate financing and human resources, low technical capacity and low pricing certainty had led to low investor confidence over the years, which had hampered the expansion of the renewable energy efforts.

He said in order to achieve the island’s energy goal a multipronged approach was necessary, which would tackle energy for cooling, lighting, transportation as well as energy efficiency.

“We cannot only look at the 900 plus gigawatt hours we are currently consuming, but we have to speak about what is happening on the road. The transportation sector accounts for between 37 and 40 per cent of our fuel consumption and we have to address that,” insisted Haynes.

Executive Director of the Barbados Renewable Energy Association (BREA) Meshia Clarke said she believed the recovery of the ailing Barbados economy depended heavily on the renewable energy sector.

She insisted that as Government embarked on its mission critical action plan to address Barbados’ balance of payment challenges, the renewable energy sector should be given priority.

“What is needed more urgently now than ever is the recognition that the country’s economic recovery must be aligned to an overall strategy [that addresses] economic growth and curtails our foreign debt,” said Clarke.

“Our position has been centred [on] the understanding that the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector present a pathway for the country to stimulate economic growth through the creation of new job opportunities, increased investment prospects and [an] overall reduction in the level of foreign exchange spend on purchase of oil,” she explained.

Acknowledging that Government’s policy objective regarding the sector will require significant levels of investment, Clarke said banking institutions and insurance companies have a significant role to play.

Monday’s meeting among private and public sector representatives, donor organizations and other stakeholders, and insurance and financial services sector officials, sought to among other things, identify a new coordinated and collaborative approach towards developing the sector.


Barbados to Establish New Renewable Energy Regime

(Barbados Today, Marlon Madden, 17.Jul.2018) – Within another month producers of electricity from renewable energy sources should have an idea of the new rate they will be paid for selling power to the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) under the Renewable Energy Rider (RER) programme.

This promise has come from Minister of Energy and Water Resources Wilfred Abrahams, who said his Barbados Labour Party (BLP) administration was “embarking on several initiatives”, including a review of the Barbados Electric Light and Power Act and the National Energy Policy 2017 – 2037 in order to facilitate a more efficient licensing process.

Addressing a one-day high level roundtable meeting on the renewable energy industry at the 3W’s Pavilion at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus on Monday, Abrahams said a review of the framework was necessary if the country were to achieve its target of 100 per cent renewable energy usage by 2030.

“We cannot have a situation where there are still temporary rates for renewable energy. In this regard, I expect to, within the next month, take a paper to Cabinet to commence the process to have permanent rates for grid-tied renewable energy systems,” Abrahams said.

“With the permanent rates for all grid-tied renewable energy systems there will be a clear implementation plan for achieving our 2030 target. That is our promise. In this regard I have requested the technocrats, as a matter of urgency, to produce a revised national energy policy, which will clearly show the targets for 2030,” he said.

Exactly two years ago, the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) set a temporary rate for the power being sold to the national grid under the RER programme at $0.416/kWh for solar photovoltaic and $0.315/kWh for wind “until such time as a permanent rate may be established”.

At the time, the FTC said the decision was taken to increase the capacity limit to 500 kW from 150 kW.

Abrahams did not go into detail about other likely changes to the legislation, but insisted that any change would bring about greater clarity and make way for more timely decisions.

He said focus would also be placed on energy efficiency and energy storage, acknowledging that while Government had control over policies all stakeholders were required to work closely together to help bring about the requisite change for the sector.

Abrahams insisted that the inclusion of local investors was critical to the restructuring process of the sector, pointing out that Government would be pursing a policy that would ensure that “all Barbadians are treated as investors”.

Businessman and renewable energy investor Ralph Bizzy Williams immediately welcomed the decision of a permanent tariff for power sold to the BL&P, saying while he did not know what the permanent rate would be, he was certain the industry would “take off” once the decision was made.

He also agreed that Barbadians should have majority ownership of the renewable energy sector here.

“As far as I am concerned the sun that shines on Barbados belongs to Bajans and we should be harvesting it, not foreigners. I love foreigners, I welcome anybody here, but for goodness sakes we are in the sun belt of the world and this is our moment,” said Williams, who pointed to his company’s green energy bond was gobbled up once introduced several months ago.

He also agreed that Barbados would save millions in oil imports through the expansion of the sector, as it would no longer be “subjected to the varying prices of oil” over which it had no control.


FDI in LAC Region Falls for Third Straight Year

(Energy Analytics Institute, Ian Silverman, 12.Jul.2018) – Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Latin America and the Caribbean fell for a third straight year in 2017, reported the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean or CEPAL by its Spanish acronym.

The details were revealed in CEPAL’s annual report titled “FDI in Latin America and the Caribbean 2018.”


Oil Price Weighs on Barbados’ Inflation

(Trinidad Express, Aleem Khan, 4.Jul.2019) – High oil prices on their own appear to be good neither for Trinidad and Tobago nor Barbados, according to statements by an International Monetary Fund (IMF) senior economist, and Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (Petrotrin) Chairman Wilfred Espinet, over the last week.

On June 27, for the second time, Espinet pointed out that Petrotrin is a net consumer of foreign exchange as it pays more for the crude oil than it earns from selling crude products. Espinet first raised the issue in Couva on May 4 while addressing an agglomeration of chambers of commerce.

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Barbados: Energy Boost

(Barbados Today, Luova Labs, 20.Feb.2018) – Government’s spokesman on energy Senator Darcy Boyce has said that independent producers of renewable energy would likely be able to supply more energy to the national grid and have a fixed price for doing so in a matter of months.

In fact, Boyce, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with Responsibility for Energy, said he expected to have something to report by the end of March, following a meeting with the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) in early March.

Addressing the launch of a US$34 million project at the Inter-American Development Bank offices in Christ Church, Boyce said he expected the Renewable Energy Rider (RER) limit to increase from the current 60 megawatts “to maybe 80 or 90 megawatts later on this year”.

This, he said, should result in “a good demand” as well as the issuance of more licences to power producers, including Barbados Light & Power Company, Government and individuals and businesses.

The RER, introduced in 2010, facilitates the sale of excess electricity to the grid by customers using a solar photovoltaic or wind renewable energy system to offset electricity consumption from the grid.

“I say later on this year because we have now a market study done on pricing for renewable energy and it is now being studied by the Division of Energy and a draft of the papers has been sent to me for review and that is now being amended in the Division of Energy.

“When that paper gets to Cabinet I will expect by the middle of next month then we will be in a position to go to the FTC and discuss the kinds of rates that we have envisioned to suggest for renewable energy of different types and different size installations. So we expect that we will have some decision on that before the end of March. That will then give certainty to those people, those large producers who want to go into renewable energy,” Boyce explained.

Renewable energy advocate Ralph Bizzy Williams, the owner of the Williams Solar company, has been one of the most vocal in calling for a fixed rate for energy being sold to the utility company by producers, as well as an increase in the amount that individuals are allowed to sell to the grid.

A temporary rate was set in July 2016.

The FTC had said then it would increase the capacity limit per individual to 500 kW from 150kW and set a temporary credit at $0.41/kWh for solar photovoltaic and $0.315/kWh for wind “until such time as a permanent rate may be established”.

Boyce yesterday implied that the capacity limit per individual would increase, while explaining that a permanent rate would be set and the total intermittent energy allowed to the grid would be increased.

Within the 60-megawatt capacity allocated to intermittent energy on the national grid, Boyce explained that there was still some space left to be taken up including an approximately 15-megawatts for power from Government owned corporations.