The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


April 6, 2020 edition–Apache’s discovery; Rosneft leaves Venezuela; and Colombia’s renewable auction changes.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. El Salvador cut the ribbon on a new solar park; the coronavirus pandemic may hit Central America’s power demand; and Belize will aid unemployed workers during the COVID-19 crisis.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. Despite the shortage at home, PDVSA fuels up Cuba; Puerto Rico asked to halt PREPA’s hearings; and Jamaica left fuel and LNG supply out of the lockdown.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Columbus Energy continues with the Inniss-Trinity project in Trinidad; COVID-19 threatens St. Croix’s refinery restart; and the IMF visited Curaçao and Sint Maarten.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Apache discovered black gold at Suriname’s Sapakara West-1; Rosneft left Venezuela; and a new date was set for Colombia’s renewable power auction participants.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in El Salvador’s LNG project (Lexlatin – Spanish); IMF/World Bank initiative (Jamaica Observer – English); and Curaçao’s terminal in Bonaire (Argus Media – English).



Government & NGO


The Dominican Republic will use US$150m to overcome the coronavirus crisis. The Dominican Republic will use financing for US$150 million, previously contracted with the Inter-American Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) of the World Bank Group, to support the population affected by the coronavirus (Dominican Today – English).


The IMF visited Panama and Haiti… The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Panama’s growth to increase in 2020 (IMF – English). The IMF will make the Fund’s Rapid Credit Facility available to fund Haiti’s most affected sectors, including the healthcare system, to fight the coronavirus pandemic (IMF – English).


…and Curaçao and Sint Maarten also. The IMF expects Curaçao’s real GDP to remain flat in 2020 and grow by 1.5% in 2021 (IMF – English). In Sint Maarten, real GDP is expected to grow by 2.9% in 2020.


Honduras secured US$143m from the IMF to fight COVID-19. While Nicaragua continues negotiating to obtain resources, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will lend US$143m to Honduras to fight the coronavirus pandemic (La Prensa – Spanish). The IMF expects Honduras to face significant challenges due to the impact of the pandemic.


Belize will aid unemployed workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Belize’s government borrowed BZD$75 million from the central bank to help unemployed citizens (Jamaica Gleaner – English). Additional funding will be procured for food assistance programs and through loans from the Inter-American Development Bank.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Apache discovered black gold at Suriname’s Sapakara West-1. Apache Corporation announced an oil discovery at the Sapakara West-1 well drilled offshore Suriname on Block 58 (Energy Now – English). Sapakara West-1 was drilled to a depth of approximately 6,300 meters by the Noble Sam Croft.


Columbus Energy continues with the Inniss-Trinity project. Columbus Energy announced that the Inniss-Trinity project will continue to the next stage of continuous gas injection (Energy Now – English). The project is testing enhanced oil recovery within a mature field with Colombus Energy’s partner, Predator Oil and Gas.


Rosneft left Venezuela… Rosneft announced the cessation of operations in Venezuela and the sale of all assets related to those activities (Platts – English) (El Financiero – Spanish). The decision follows the imposition of US sanctions on two Rosneft trading subsidiaries due to their activities in Venezuela.


…and the US blamed oil prices. According to a US State Department official, the state-owned oil company decided to end operations in Venezuela and sell its assets to a Russian government-owned company due to the collapse in oil prices (Platts – English).


ExxonMobil is looking for protective equipment and security training services in Guyana. ExxonMobil published a request for information for safety, security, health, and environment training services by April 8 (Energy Now – English). The company is also looking for suppliers of different types and sizes of personnel protective equipment (Energy Now – English).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Colombia’s ELN announced a ceasefire on pipeline attacks during the lockdown. The National Liberation Army (ELN) announced a ceasefire through April 30 to support the efforts to control the coronavirus outbreak. ELN routinely attacks two crude pipelines controlled by Ecopetrol but in March, there were only three attacks compared to 15 in February (Argus Media – English).


Despite the shortage at home, PDVSA fuels up Cuba. The state-owned company is maintaining its fuel supply to Cuba as four Cuban-owned tankers loaded almost 800,000 barrels of crude and products at Amuay terminal (Argus Media – English). The buyer of the cargoes was Cubametales.


COVID-19 threatens St. Croix’s refinery restart. One construction employee among the 1,400 who live onsite at the St. Croix plan tested positive for COVID-19. The chief executive of Limetree Bay Ventures said that this development could change the start date that was previously set for June or July (Reuters – English).



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Venezuela is suffering a gas shortage. During the coronavirus pandemic, the supply of the gas used in Venezuelan homes fell by 50% in both gas cylinders and direct lines, according to the lawmaker Elías Matta (Descifrado – Spanish). Matta pointed to the need to form a new democratic government to solve the crisis in public services.


Jamaica left fuel and LNG supply out of the lockdown. Prime Minister Andrew Holness left persons employed in services connected to oil refining and with the loading, distribution, transportation, or retail of petroleum fuel, liquefied natural gas (LNG) or any renewable energy source exempt from the curfew (Jamaica Observer – English).


Colombia’s Ibagué boosts natural gas demand during the lockdown. Alcanos de Colombia said that natural gas demand has skyrocketed during the lockdown, producing lower pressure and the closing of the general valve (Caracol – Spanish). The company asked for a rational use of natural gas during the lockdown (El Nuevo Día – Spanish).



Electric Power & Renewables


The coronavirus pandemic may hit Central America’s power demand. If the lockdown lasts two months, a 4% decrease in generation, transmission, and distribution demand is forecasted (Central America Data – Spanish). Income of the companies in the generation, transmission, and distribution sectors is expected to drop by 6%.


Puerto Rico asked to halt PREPA’s hearings. The Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) filled a court motion to suspend all hearing and briefing deadlines for PREPA’s Restructuring Support Agreement (New Energy Events – English). The motion will be subject to a status report on May 15, 2020.


AES El Salvador secures hospital power in CIFCO. AES El Salvador is improving the power lines of the International Center of Fairs and Conventions (CIFCO) to secure an ideal power supply for the new hospital that would attend COVID-19 patients (El Mundo – Spanish).


BPL suspends disconnections during the COVID-19 crisis. Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) will continue the suspension of disconnections while the government maintains the emergency orders to control the pandemic (Tribune 242 – English). The BPL COVID-19 Relief Program would allow customers to defer payments on their BPL bills for three months.


El Salvador cut the ribbon on a new solar park. Neoen announced that the Capella Solar solar park started operations. Capella Solar includes two solar plants, Albireo 1 y Albireo 2, with a combined capacity of 140MW (PV Magazine – Spanish).


Colombia’s renewable power auction participants got two extra months. The Mines and Energy Ministry moved the date for the guarantee of payment by the long-term renewable energy auction buyers from February 28 to April 30 (PV Magazine – Spanish). The rest of the terms and deadlines remain unchanged.



Old School Social Goes Viral


(Editor’s note: For the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, this section will refocus on announcements of event delays or cancellations, events that are moved online, and scheduled webinars and public conference calls. Stay safe!)


The Latam Mobility Summit will be held June 10-11 at Orquideorama, Botanical Garden, in Medellín.


The South America Energy Series is scheduled for June 20 at JW Marriott in Bogotá.


The SPE Latin American and Caribbean Petroleum Engineering Conference was rescheduled to July 28-30 at the Ágora Convention Center in Bogotá.



Lateral Thinking


Dominica will help business become competitive and sustainable. The OECS Competitive Business Unit (OECS-CBU), the Dominica Youth Business Trust (DYBT), and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) will implement the 24-month project, “Enhancing the Competitiveness and Sustainability of Agro-processors in Dominica” (Pride News – English). The goal is to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of 40 enterprises.



Quote of the Week


“Hoe meer buitenlanders er kwamen wonen, hoe meer boerenbont er voor de andere ramen werd uitgestald. En zo was er dan een soort van evenwicht.”


“The more foreigners moved in, the more gingham was displayed on the other windows. And so there was some kind of balance.”



-Karin Amatmoekrim (1976), Surinamese writer.


We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or competitive tips to


Tell your friends and colleagues about the Weekly Brief! They can sign up for a free one-month trial here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]