The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


April 12, 2020 edition–El Salvador’s renewables; St. Croix’s fuel; and Costa Rica’s natural gas.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Costa Rica’s industry asked for more natural gas; Ventus and AES El Salvador bet on El Salvador’s wind and solar; and Enel started a solar plant in Panamá.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. AES Dominicana has big plans too; natural gas will satisfy half of the Dominican Republic’s power demand; and ProDominicana launched a digital DFI registry.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed St Kitts and Nevis’ battery storage project; Bunker One will fuel up St. Croix; and top executives left the St. Croix refinery.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. The Guyana-Suriname Basin may be the last big oil boom; China helped out Venezuela’s exports; and Isagen and Barranquilla bet on Colombia’s sun.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in JPS’ Hunts Bay power plant (Jamaica Gleaner – English); Punta Catalina’s transformation (El Día – Spanish); and Ecopetrol’s shift to power (FT – English).



Government & NGO


The IDB analyzes the Caribbean’s energy consumption evolution. The Inter-American Development Bank analyzed the evolution of energy consumption and expenditures in Latin America and the Caribbean (Jamaica Observer – English). The report shows that as family incomes increase, households replace traditional fuels, such as wood, with electricity and natural gas.


The IMF has high hopes for Jamaica’s 2022. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reduced Jamaica’s expected 2021 growth to 1.5% from the previous 3.6% forecast. In 2022, the Caribbean nation is expected to achieve nearly 6% growth (Nation Wide Radio JM – English).


Bermuda’s inflation rate reached 0.3% in December. Bermuda’s annual inflation rate was 0.3% in December 2020. The food sector was the largest contributor to the Consumer Price Index year-on-year increase, rising 2.7%, and there was no monthly change in the fuel and power sectors (Royal Gazette – English).


ProDominicana launched a digital DFI registry. The Center of Exportation and Investment of the Dominican Republic (ProDominicana) presented the registry for direct foreign investment in digital format. The goal is to speed up and provide transparency to investment processes (Acento – Spanish).


A St. Vincent volcano is set to blow. St. Vincent is on red alert and evacuation orders affect roughly 6,000 to 7,000 people (CNN – English). The volcano has had five recorded explosive eruptions, in 1718, 1812, 1814, 1902/03, and 1979. Trinidad & Tobago and Venezuela offered assistance.



Oil & Gas Upstream


Colombia’s oil union opposes fracking. The Caribbean nation’s largest oil union, the Petroleum Industry Workers Union (USO), joined anti-fracking activists to oppose the development of non-conventional energy deposits, asking for a transition to renewables (Reuters – English). Some 120 other organizations form part of the anti-fracking alliance.


The Guyana-Suriname Basin may be the last big oil boom. Considering low break-even prices and favorable production-sharing contracts, the area has captured the oil industry’s attention. However, the favorable conditions, lowering demand, and excess of global crude oil supply may make this the last oil boom (Stabroek News – English).


Colombia’s challenge: its natural gas future. Colombia’s important proven and probable natural gas reserves in conventional fields guarantee the Caribbean nation’s demand for the next 12 years. Colombia is also considering fracking in non-conventional fields and other areas at sea, and new rules to allow an increase in exploratory activity (La Patria – Spanish).



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The accident in the Suez Canal increased El Salvador’s gasoline prices. According to the Hydrocarbons and Mines Direction, gasoline prices increased in the last two weeks due to the market impacts of the Suez Canal accident, changes in the US strategic reserve, and OPEC’s anticipated decisions (El Mundo – Spanish).


Top executives left the St. Croix refinery. The finance chief and two other top executives at Limetree Bay Ventures stepped down. The refinery suffered setbacks to restarting operations after an undisclosed operational issue (Reuters – English). The refinery ran more than US$1bn over its original budget.


China helped out Venezuela’s exports. PDVSA and its joint ventures exported an average of 690,323 barrels per day of crude and fuel in March, a 3.9% decrease from the data in February and 14.5% from March 2020 (Hellenic Shipping News – English). PDVSA sent more cargoes directly to China.


Bunker One will fuel up St. Croix. The company will be the key physical supplier in St. Croix, becoming the strategic point for its expansion plans (Hellenic Shipping News – English). St. Croix is located along all major shipping lanes servicing US crude import and export markets and the regional markets for fuel oils and refined products.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Natural gas will satisfy half of the Dominican Republic’s power demand. Natural gas-powered plants are expected to represent half of the Caribbean nation’s power production between 2025 and 2029 (BN Americas – English). In 2020, natural gas was the second-highest power supplier after coal.


Costa Rica’s industry asked for more natural gas. The Industry Chamber of Costa Rica is concerned with the increase in LPG fuel and the heavy tax on fuels. The chamber requested the facilitation of alternative fuel imports such as natural gas (El Mundo – Spanish).


Colombia’s gas users keep growing. Natural gas access is allowing families to stop using wood at home to cook, a practice harmful to their health (Semana – Spanish). There are a total of 10,253,699 natural gas users, of which 10,061,213 are families, 186,760 stores, and 5,726 are from the energy sector.



Electric Power & Renewables


Ventus and AES El Salvador bet on El Salvador’s wind and solar… Ventus’ 54MW wind plant located in the Metapán municipality will start operations in April 2021 (Central America Data – Spanish). AES El Salvador will work to increase its power generation share through new solar plants with US$60m in investment (El Mundo – Spanish).


…and AES Dominicana has big plans too. The energy company plans to add 200MW of solar energy in the next three years (Dominican Today – English). The company made an alliance with 5B, a developer of pre-assembled solar panels.


Colombia’s tax reform will increase power tariffs. The information regarding the tax reform has concerned observers because of its increase on coal taxes, generating a 33% cost overrun and an increase in power prices (El Economista – Spanish).


Barranquilla will power up with its sun. The Colombian city selected two consortia to implement an ambitious solar program to power public entities and services as part of a wide-ranging sustainability initiative called Biodivercity (Renewables Now – English). The solar power plant will have a 150MW capacity.


The COVID-19 pandemic delayed St Kitts and Nevis’ battery storage project. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed several of Leclanché’s projects, including the 44.2MWh battery storage in St Kitts and Nevis. Leclanché’s new financing will accelerate the construction of the St Kitts project (Energy Storage – English).


Enel started a solar plant in Panamá. Enel began construction of a 30.88MW solar park in the province of Chiriquí and is expected to commence feeding power into the grid in December 2021. Commercial operation is set for February 2022 (Renewables Now – English).


Isagen bets on Colombia’s sun. Isagen agreed to acquire a 100MW solar plant located in the Sabanalarga municipality (Renewables Now – English). The transaction was made with power producer Green Energy Professional Consulting and Bosques Solares SL.



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 Hydrogen Congress for Latin America & the Caribbean – H2LAC is rescheduled for April 14-15.


The Island Energy Transformation Training Series will be held April 29.



Lateral Thinking


Kites hit the Dominican Republic’s power grid. The Dominican Electricity Transmission Company (Eted) reported losses from kite flying exceed RD$10m per year (Dominican Today – English). In the last two years, more than 3,000 kite tails have been removed.



Quote of the Week


“¡Qué su Rosa hubiera vivido un día y en cambio otros, que de nada servían sino para hacer daño, vivieran tantísimos años!”


“That his Rose only lived a day and others, that are useful for nothing but causing pain, lived so many years!”



– Joaquín Gutiérrez (1918-2000), Costa Rican writer. The quote is from Cocorí, a children’s book translated into ten languages.




We hope you have a productive week. Please send any news, comments, or kite accidents 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]