DE RUEHPO #0058 0451700
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141700Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY PARAMARIBO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9972
UNCLAS PARAMARIBO 000058
STATE FOR WHA/CAR JROSHOLT
E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: ENRG SENV APER ABUD NS SUBJECT: POST INPUT FOR REPORT TO CONGRESS ON ENERGY
REF: A) SECSTATE 10743; B) SECSTATE 7475
1. (U) Post is please to provide information on our work on energy-related issues. Answers are keyed to REFTEL.
A. The Political-Economic Section handles energy matters. The section totals 7 staff: political-economic officer (USDH), political officer (USDH, who also covers public diplomacy at our non-public diplomacy presence post), office management specialist (EFM), and LES employees (4): economic assistant, political assistant, commercial assistant, and public diplomacy assistant. No staffers are dedicated exclusively to working on energy issues.
B. Positions that work on energy matters. One USDH political-economic officer: 5 percent of the time. One LES economic assistant: 5 percent of the time.
C. The political-economic officer and the economic assistant have main responsibility for tracking and reporting on issues pertaining to energy in Suriname. They maintain contacts within the government and private sector on energy-related issues. The political officer and political assistant reported on political issues that tangentially affected the energy sector.
(1) The onshore oil sector is one of the primary sources of income for the Government of Suriname, and U.S. firms participate in the oil sector. In 2007, Post reported on the maritime border dispute between Guyana and Suriname, which held at stake prospects of exploring offshore oil reserves. This dispute was settled by an International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea in fall 2007. With the settlement of this dispute, there is potential for enormous growth if offshore reserves can be located and proven to be economically viable. There is opportunity for U.S. firms to be involved in this oil exploration.
(2) Post reported on how the continuous shortage in energy has affected larger investments opportunities in Suriname.
(3) Post reported on Suriname's deliberations on the PetroCaribe Deal with Venezuela.
(4) We also kept tabs on the condition of the state-owned electricity company EBS, and on the availability of energy from the hydrodam that is currently under the management of the U.S. company Alcoa's wholly-owned Surinamese subsidiary, Suralco.
(5) Post reported on the Government of France's proposal to link the energy systems of Suriname and French Guiana so that the two countries can engage in energy-sharing.
(6) Non-U.S. firms have shown recent interest in investing in bio-fuels and alternative energy sources in Suriname. While none of these companies have invested in Suriname yet, Post is keeping abreast of the reports. One company has signed a deal with the Government of Suriname but has been unable to implement this deal due to local opposition.
D. Budget: (1) Personnel: As 5% of political-economic officer and economic assistant's time was spent on energy-related issues, this equates to $4,000 USD of paid to staff for their work on energy-related issues.
(2) Programs: Post had no funding for energy-related programs. SCHREIBER HUGHES