Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel attend their meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, October 29, 2019. Putin hailed Cuba’s resilience in the face of the US pressure as he hosted Diaz-Canel for talks on expanding cooperation between the old allies. —Photo: AP

UNITED STATES (US) oil company, ExxonMobil, has announced that it is likely to achieve first oil at its Liza phase one development offshore Guyana in December, months ahead of the original timetable, which had placed first oil in the first quarter of 2020.

ExxonMobil has made a record 14 discoveries in its Stabroek block since 2015, valued at more than six billion oil equivalent barrels and continues its exploration activities.

Speaking at the opening of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, Claire Fitzpatrick, Regional President of bpTT, revealed that BP had submitted a bid to the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries (MEEI) in Trinidad and Tobago for a commercial-scale solar power project with partners LightSource BP and Royal Dutch Shell.

In 2017, MEEI had released an expression of interest (EOI) for utility-scale renewable energy (RE) projects to supply up to 130MW of electricity generation from renewable sources on a build, own and operate basis. According to the MEEI, a tender opening ceremony was held for the project in July, where it was revealed that 11 proposals had been received.

MEEI has indicated that the evaluation of bids will be completed by the end of October.

Meanwhile, according to a report by its newly-appointed chairman, Michael Quamina, Petrotrin recorded an after-tax loss of US$2.42 billion for the financial year ending September 30, 2018.

The loss included the “impairment of property, plant and equipment, primarily refinery assets of US$2.30 billion.”

Mr Quamina noted that the company’s restructuring “was successfully implemented, subsequent to the 2018 financial year.”

The Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) recently won the bid for the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, with a US$700 million offer that the government has accepted.

The former Petrotrin refinery operation, now called Guaracara Refining Company Ltd, was sold to Patriotic Energies and Technologies Co Ltd., which is wholly-owned by the OWTU.

Meanwhile, the government of China held a two-day conference in Grenada to provide a better understanding of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched six years ago, which several Caricom countries have signed on to.

In order to jointly promote cooperation between China and Caribbean countries on BRI, the Chinese and Grenadian governments held a China-Caribbean conference on BRI implementation in Grenada from October 28-29 at the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort.

The conference focused on principles, paths and roles played by all parties in the implementation of Initiative.

The BRI is a global development strategy adopted by the Chinese government, involving infrastructure development and investment in 152 countries and international organisations in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas.

Caribbean countries which have signed the BRI memorandum include Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua, Barbuda, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Dominica, Guyana and Suriname.

Russia’s Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, says that Moscow’s relations with Cuba have been fully restored.

On a visit to Havana, he said that Moscow will help Cuba obtain oil and oil products. Medvedev, however, made clear that the new relationship with Cuba was pragmatic and “should be mutually beneficial.”

He said that his discussions had focused on development and deals concluded by large Russian companies relating to the railways, the sale of airplanes, the maintenance of Russian-built aircraft already in Cuba, metallurgy, a thermal power station, alternative forms of power generation and agriculture.

Cuba’s president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, was expected to travel to Moscow to meet with President Putin.

White House is said to be considering new sanctions against Cuba if the US does not see any improvement in Cuba’s behaviour in relation to Venezuela.

The new sanctions would likely target the tourism sector, as well as Venezuelan oil supplied to Cuba.

General Electric (GE) is to pay a fine of US$2.7 million to the US Treasury for allegedly indirectly violating US regulations relating to Cuba.

Three subsidiaries were said to have broken Cuban Assets Control Regulations by accepting payments made for goods and services provided to the Cobalt Refining Co (COREFCO), a Cuban-Canadian joint venture company linked to Sherritt International.

Venezuela’s state oil company, PdVSA, is to send up to three million barrels of oil to Cuba to alleviate a US sanctions-driven backlog in crude exports.

Venezuela is expected to make the shipments over a 14-day period.

David Renwick was awarded the Hummingbird Medal (Gold) in 2008 for the development of energy journalism in Trinidad and Tobago.

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