Prospects for the Oil-importing Countries of the Caribbean
As a region the Caribbean countries are net exporters of hydrocarbons. However, all exports of natural gas and crude oil are concentrated in one country, Trinidad and Tobago. The rest of the region taken as a whole is net importer of hydrocarbons. The largest countries in the region are heavily dependent on imported crude oil and products as their main source of primary energy. The trend has intensified over recent years. Net-importing countries in the region have more than doubled their annual per capita consumption of oil over the last two decades. Trinidad and Tobago could supply the region’s hydrocarbon needs. However, very little effort has been made by the importing countries to substitute gas from Trinidad and Tobago for oil from other extra regional sources. There are a number of initiatives under way to reduce the region’s dependence on imported hydrocarbons: Eastern Caribbean Gas Pipeline (ECGP); Eastern Caribbean Geothermal Energy Project (Geo-Caraïbes); Caribbean Renewable Energy Development Programme (CREDP); Petrocaribe Energy Cooperation Agreement and Production of Biofuels. The IDB together with CARICOM and the Caribbean Development Bank are concentrating efforts in to promote the development of biofuels in the region, with specific programs in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. Furthermore, there individual country efforts to implement mid-term plans to increase their energy efficiency and diversify their Energy Matrices away from oil, among these countries it is worth highlighting: Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados. Finally, the IDB is sponsoring a number of technical studies with the objectives of developing renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency. Beyond these initiatives, an avenue that is worth exploring is enhancing regional integration, especially through small-scale trading of natural gas between Trinidad and Tobago and the rest of the Caribbean.
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