Argentina: government seeks renewables

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Immediately following the vote in the Argentine Congress to approve the settlement of Argentina's foreign debt with the "holdouts", the Ministry of Energy published the much awaited regulations to the new law to promote renewable energy in the country. The president of Argentina, Mauricio Macri, along with his energy minister, Juan José Aranguren, will be traveling to the U.S. to promote investments in the country at the "Future of Energy Summit"in New York organized by Bloomberg New Energy Finance next week. This is a summary of the main points of Law 27191 and Decree 541/2016 (you can access the complete texts in ...

Shine a light on Cuba

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All eyes were on Cuba last week following every detail of President Obama's visit to the island nation, not least the potential investment opportunities that a political opening may offer. In a previous post I addressed some of the difficulties U.S. investors face because of the economic embargo imposed by the U.S. on Cuba. This post is dedicated to the investment environment in Cuba, and the opportunities that are coming into view for the energy sector. Foreign Investment Act 118 In April of 2014 the Cuban parliament adopted Law No. 118 to promote foreign investment in the country. It was part of a wave of reforms aimed at ...

Cuba: chipping away at the embargo

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President Obama's visit to Cuba this week has encouraged renewed speculation on the opening of investment opportunities for U.S. investors, despite the repeated caution in most news reports that high level political events are fast outpacing economic change (and certainly political change) on the island. Yet the Cuban government has made much more progress than the U.S. in eliminating legal obstacles to investment (more to come on this). The changes that have happened so far in the U.S., like the lifting of the travel ban, are cosmetic, in light of the edifice of prohibitions embodied in the legislation that constitutes the ...

Impeachment and energy: do they mix?

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Two of the region's energy giants, Venezuela and Brazil, are mired in political crises that threaten to remove their current presidents from office. The outcomes of these crises have implications for the overall performance of these countries' economies, and for the future of their energy sectors. In this post I seek to answer two questions: What is the likelihood that Nicolás Maduro and Dilma Rousseff will not make it to the end of 2016 as presidents? and What are the implications of a presidential crisis for Venezuela and Brazil's energy sectors? 1. How likely is it that Nicolás Maduro and Dilma Rousseff will make it to ...

Brazil: getting Petrobras out of the way

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On February 24, the Brazilian Senate voted to pass a bill to eliminate the requirement that Petrobras, the Brazilian state-owned oil company, be partner and sole operator of all investments in the Pre-salt oil and gas deposits off the coast of Brazil. If the bill successfully passes the lower House and avoids a presidential veto, it may be breathe some fresh air into a financially troubled company at the center of a severe political crisis. Recent history The state's monopoly over hydrocarbon resources and the exclusive role for Petrobras in extracting, refining, and commercializing them was established in 1953. This ownership regime was first altered in ...

Social License to Operate: New Standards for Energy Investments

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The term “social license to operate” (SLO) is now part of the jargon used by politicians, business people, and NGOs to refer to the community buy-in that legitimizes infrastructure and development projects. Unlike its cousin “corporate social responsibility” (CSR), which is a self-defined, corporate-driven strategy, SLO can only be granted by the community, requires community engagement, and implies joint stewardship. SLO is an abstract concept; it is easier to measure its absence than prove its presence. Yet there are enough cases out there to ground our understanding of what SLO means in practice. To name a few, Innergex Renewable Energy, a ...