The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


April 13, 2020 edition–BVIEC’s solar; ExxonMobil’s Payara development; and Colombia’s extension.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Costa Rica’s solar project bets on crowdfunding; El Salvador receives parts for its first wind park; and the COVID-19 pandemic made Panamá’s power demand drop.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. The Dominican Republic’s COVID-19 quarantine hit fuel sales; Cubapetróleo changed its LP gas delivery cycle; and Belco is waiting for comments on its change of control.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. Shell paid US$189m in taxes to Trinidad & Tobago; BVIEC got five bids for its 2MW solar and storage auction; and Antigua wrote to the World Bank and IMF to ask for help for the region.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. ExxonMobil is waiting on the Payara development permit; Chevron canceled service contracts with PDVSA; and Colombia offered more time to oil companies for the 2020 auction.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Exxon’s Request for Information over safety services (Energy Now – English); Exxon’s Request for Information for personal protective equipment (Energy Now – English); and Rosneft’s departure from Venezuela (Platts – English).



Government & NGO


The CDB will help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) approved US$140m to be used by member countries to tackle the effect of COVID-19 on the economy (Caribank – English). The CDB will also provide funds to purchase personal protective equipment by member countries fighting the COVID-19 pandemic (Caribank – English).


Antigua wrote to the World Bank and IMF to ask for help for the region. Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne wrote to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank asking them to assist the Caribbean Community (Jamaica Observer – English).


Colombia may take loans to fight COVID-19. The Caribbean nation may take multilateral loans to increase liquidity to fight the COVID-19 pandemic (NYT – English). Fitch downgraded Colombia’s rating to BBB- and the outlook remains negative (Fitch Ratings – English).


The IMF answered Colombia’s FCL renew request. The International Monetary Fund recommended the approval of a request from the Caribbean nation’s government to renew its Flexible Credit Line (FCL) (IMF – English). The request was granted due to Colombia’s strong policy framework and track record.


The IDB will finance Latin American and Caribbean projects responding to COVID-19. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) made available US$7m in non-reimbursable resources under the 2020 Call for Proposals of the Regional Public Goods (RPG) Initiative to finance proposals for regional and policy coordination in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (IADB – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


ExxonMobil is waiting on the Payara development permit. Although Exxon reduced its 2020 global capital spending by 30%, the Liza Destiny production vessel is unaffected. The company is waiting for Guyana’s approval to proceed with a third production vessel for the Payara development (Energy Now – English).


Canacol announced its gas exploration plans. Canacol published its prospective resources for six exploration blocks. Canacol added an average of 4.7 trillion cubic feet without risk and an average with risk of 1.4 trillion standard cubic feet (La República – Spanish).


Chevron canceled service contracts with PDVSA. Chevron’s joint ventures with PDVSA canceled service contracts and procurement processes (Reuters – English). Chevron holds stakes in four oil and gas joint ventures with PDVSA. Chevron’s waiver to do business in Venezuela despite sanctions expires on April 22.


Colombia offered oil companies more time for the 2020 auction. The National Agency of Hydrocarbons (ANH) changed the date again for the Permanent Procedure of Areas Assignation (PPAA) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The date for area assignation requests was moved from May 4th to June (Valora Analitik – Spanish).


Hocol was okayed to look for gas in Colombia. The Colombian company received the permits to have shares in the Chuchupa and Ballena gas fields, currently Chevron’s (BN Americas – English). Hocol would have 43% participation and the rest would be under Ecopetrol’s control.


Shell paid US$189m in taxes to Trinidad & Tobago. In its Report on Payments to Governments 2019, Shell paid the government of Trinidad & Tobago TT$1.2b in 2019, or US$189m, between production entitlements, taxes, royalties, bonuses, and fees (Energy Now – English). The report details the payments based on active projects.



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


Venezuela struggles with fuel shortages. After the US told foreign firms to stop supplying fuel to Venezuela, the Caribbean country’s gasoline shortages are worsening (Reuters – English). Diesel, mainly used for power generation and bulk transport, seems to be left out of those restrictions.


Central America is enjoying low oil prices. Due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, oil prices have dropped to a minimum, and Costa Rica will pay US$3.60 per gallon of regular gasoline and El Salvador US$1.99 (Central America Data – Spanish). Guatemala will have the cheapest diesel, selling at US$2.03.


The Dominican Republic’s COVID-19 quarantine hit fuel sales… Fuel stations noticed a fall between 70% and 80% in their sales volume during the country’s quarantine period (Dominican Today – English). The situation is causing some gas stations to close and 5,000 jobs may be on the line.


…while Bahamians are draining their gas stations dry. Bahamian gas stations are struggling to cope with gasoline demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, which they compared to pre-hurricane preparations (Tribune 242 – English). People are purchasing gas and diesel for various generators, anticipating power outages.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


Cubapetróleo changed its LP gas delivery cycle. The supply cycles of LP gas delivery were reduced to 30 days, considering the shortage on the island (Cuba.Cu – Spanish). Clients would be able to purchase one cylinder per month.


Colombia will pay less for natural gas. Naturgas announced that the industry will assume a 10% discount for lower income families (Pulzo – Spanish). The company also reconnected 20,000 families in the country who were disconnected because of late payment.


The Caribbean boosted the LNG market. LNG delivery in Panamá increased when AES Colón’s regasification terminal and gas plant started full operations (BN Americas – English). LNG imports increased by 26.9% in the Dominican Republic, 37.6% in Jamaica, and 21.6% in Puerto Rico in 2019.



Electric Power & Renewables


Costa Rica’s solar project bets on crowdfunding. Ecoligo resorted to crowdfunding US$157,000 to install a 103kW plant in the University of Santa Lucía in Costa Rica (PV Magazine – Spanish). The goal is to provide clean energy to the entire Alajuela campus.


The COVID-19 pandemic made Panamá’s power demand drop. The lockdown to fight the COVID-19 pandemic made power demand fall from 1,900MW to 1,400MW in the last weeks of March compared to the same period in February (Central America Data – Spanish). The reason is the closure of public offices and commerce.


El Salvador got the parts it needs for its first wind park. The Acajutla port received components for the first wind energy park to be built in El Salvador (El Mundo – Spanish). The Ventus wind park will have a 50MW capacity and will be located in the Petapán municipality.


Belco is waiting for comments on its change of control. The Regulatory Authority is inviting comments through May 4, 2020 on the change of control of utility Belco. lgonquin Power and Utilities Corporation agreed to acquire Ascendant Group Ltd for US$360m (New Energy Events – English).


BVIEC got five bids for its 2MW solar and storage auction. The BVI Electricity Corporation (BVIEC) received bids from Advanced Solar Products, MAN-HEG, Power52, Tugliq, and Virtual Engineers (Virgin Islands News Online – English). The project capacity will be 2.1 MWdc, with 1.2MWdc of solar PV and 930kW-4h BESS.



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 webinar “Puerto Rico & COVID-19: Impact on the Grid” is scheduled for April 14.


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


The Dialogue discussed the implications of low oil prices and COVID-19 in the region. Panelists discussed the implications of the fall in oil prices and the measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the energy sector, including the cuts in investments and delays in ongoing oil and gas and renewable energy projects (The Dialogue – English).



Quote of the Week


“Todo ser nuevo que encontramos viene de otro relato y es el puente que une dos leyendas y dos mundos.”


“All new being that we find comes from another story and it is a bridge that joins together two legends and two worlds.”



-William Ospina (1954), Colombian writer.


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