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Energy & Commodities

The NALS summit has the potential to deepen hemispheric energy integration, if the three presidents can jointly take advantage of the windfall in regional energy.

Likely top stories this week: Self-defense forces take over in Apatzingan, Michoacán; currency controls threaten Venezuelan newspapers; stadium construction workers may go on strike in Manaus; Obama's pending decision on the Keystone Pipeline; nine people are killed in Petén, Guatemala.

If there is one issue that has pitted the Canadian government against a U.S. administration in recent years, it has been the Keystone Pipeline XL project. 

Mexico's potential energy boom represents an important opportunity for Canada as Canadian companies will be looking to invest in oil, gas and power generation, depending on the attractiveness of the opportunity.

Argentine government officials formalized a $500 million plan to improve the distribution of electricity in Buenos Aires this week, but remained strongly opposed to raising utility rates in order to alleviate the city’s ongoing energy crisis.

The Cuban government announced yesterday that it will be loosening restrictions on the purchase of new and used foreign-made cars. Under the new policy, Cubans will no longer need a permit issued by the Transportation Ministry to purchase cars from state vendors.

Energy dependence and vulnerability are serious issues in the Caribbean, where residents suffer from high and fluctuating electricity costs, frequent blackouts and poor service. Electricity prices are some of the highest in the world, averaging US$0.33 per kilowatt hour compared to $0.09 per kilowatt hour in the United States. Oil reliance is stifling the Caribbean’s economy and the region must work towards diversifying its matrix if it wants to be competitive.

This month, Mexico’s Congress is debating the long-anticipated reform of Pemex, the country’s state-owned oil company.

In the latest in power outage to hit Venezuela this year, a blackout on Monday night left a large portion of Caracas in the dark, with other parts of the country affected as well.

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