The Weekly Brief: Greater Caribbean


April 20, 2020 edition–The Bahamas’ LNG demand; Colombia’s oil production threatened; and Colombia’s solar pipeline.



Last Week in a Minute or Less


Central America. Casa de las Baterías Energía will power up Guatemala and El Salvador; El Salvador froze electric energy prices during the COVID-19 crisis; and the IMF answered Panamá and El Salvador’s requests for assistance to fight COVID-19.


Greater Antilles / Northern Islands. A Bermuda company ordered two LNG VLCCs; the Bahamas boost LNG demand during the lockdown; and the Dominican Republic has a plan to restart the economy.


Lesser Antilles / Southern Islands. BHP Trinidad and Tobago contributed to the fight against COVID-19; and Barbados’ new shopping schedule applies to gas stations.


South America’s Caribbean Coast. Low oil prices threatened Colombia’s oil producers; the oil crisis will not affect Exxon-Hess’s work in Guyana; and the US reviewed Venezuela’s oil sanctions waivers.


Déjà vu all over again. Last week’s readers were particularly interested in Chevron’s cancellation of service contracts (Reuters – English); the Dialogue’s analysis of the COVID-19 effect in Latin America’s energy sector (The Dialogue – English); and BVIEC’s bids (New Energy Events – English).



Government & NGO


The Dominican Republic has a plan to restart the economy. The Dominican government presented a comprehensive plan to reactivate the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic, with greater support to micro, small, and medium-sized companies through access to resources from the Monetary Board at an annual rate of 3.5% (Dominican Today – English).


The World Bank trusts Guyana to escape recession… The World Bank said Guyana will see 8.7% and 2.6% GDP growth in 2021 and 2022, respectively (Jamaica Gleaner – English). The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) announced a range of additional tax relief measures (CBC – English).


…while the Dominican Republic economy will stay still. According to the World Bank, the Dominican Republic will have zero growth in 2020 (Dominican Today – English), while Latin America and the Caribbean will have a 4.6% contraction due to the COVID-19 crisis in the economies.


The IMF answered Panamá and El Salvador’s calls for help. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved Panama’s request for emergency financial assistance under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), equivalent to SDR 376.8 million, to face COVID-19 (IMF – English). The IMF okayed El Salvador’s request of about US$389 million (IMF – English).



Oil & Gas Upstream


BHP Trinidad and Tobago contributed to the fight against COVID-19. BHP Trinidad and Tobago announced a TT$3.35m contribution in equipment and services to support the country’s COVID 19 response (Energy Now – English). BHP is also making immediate payments on outstanding invoices to support suppliers (Energy Now – English).


The oil crisis will not affect Exxon-Hess’s work in Guyana. Despite political uncertainty and the oil demand crisis, ExxonMobil and Hess plan to continue their work in Guyana as those discoveries remain “an integral part” of their growth plans (Platts – English).


Colombia’s wetlands may not be ready for fracking. Fishermen of the wetlands of Barrancabermeja accused the oil industry in the region of failing to yield the promised social and economic dividends. Ecopetrol plans fracking pilot projects in the area, and the community doubts they will be done responsibly (Mongabay – English).


Low oil prices threatened Colombia’s oil producers. The head of the private producers association said that private oil companies in Colombia will be forced to cut production, reduce exploration, and even close if crude prices remain low (Nasdaq – English).


US reviewed Venezuela’s oil sanctions waivers. The US is reconsidering the decision to allow Chevron and other US and international firms to continue their work in Venezuela (Argus Media – English). With the change in the Maduro regime, the US has “to consider how our sanctions policy meets the new demands.”



Liquid Fuels Mid-Downstream


The US extended Citgo’s waiver. The US Treasury Department extended until July 22 a waiver preventing creditors of Venezuela’s PDVSA from taking control of US refiner Citgo due to missed payments on its 2020 bonds (Platts – English).


Venezuela’s private sector asked to relax gasoline import rules. Considering the country’s gasoline shortages, private oil service companies proposed the government ease restrictions on gasoline imports (Reuters – English). Fuel sales are so subsidized that it would be difficult for private sellers to make a profit.


Barbados’ new shopping schedule applies to gas stations. Based on the first letter of their surnames, Barbadians have a shopping schedule during the COVID-19 curfew to go to banks, supermarkets, and even gas stations (Barbados Today – English). The Emergency Management Directive was provided to gas stations.


El Patito refinery could not be fixed. PDVSA failed to restart El Patito refinery, and the fuel shortage is producing sporadic protests by drivers (Argus Media – English). New blazes have erupted in a lagoon and products pipeline near El Patito over the past three days.


The Bahamas boost LPG demand during the lockdown. LPG distributors reassured clients, claiming they have supplies to attend the increase in demand during the COVID-19 lockdown (Tribune 242 – English). The companies are practicing social distancing while providing a safe service.



Natural Gas Mid-Downstream & LNG


A Bermuda company ordered two LNG VLCCs. Samsung Heavy Industries Co. received an order to build LNG-powered very large crude carriers (VLCC) from a Bermuda-based company (Pulse News – English). The new VLCCs will be built with the shipbuilder’s proprietary LNG fuel supply system “S-Fugas.”



Gases del Caribe will donate COL$2bn to health and food in Colombia. Gases del Caribe Foundation will provide artificial respirators and protective kits to Uninorte Hospital and 30,000 food purchases for clients in Atlántico, Magdalena, and Cesar. The company’s goal is to maintain quality and uninterrupted gas service (El Heraldo – Spanish).



Electric Power & Renewables


Casa de las Baterías Energía will power up Guatemala and El Salvador. La Casa de las Baterías Energía will sell UPS systems, DC backpack systems, solar systems, and electric vehicle chargers (Central America Data – Spanish). In 2019, the company sold 3.75MW in distributed generation in Panamá.


El Salvador froze electricity prices during the COVID-19 crisis. The General Department of Electricity and Telecommunications (SIGET) announced that power prices will remain frozen as a measure to face the crisis (El Mundo – Spanish). El Salvador changes energy prices every January, April, July, and October 15.


Guatemala’s relief program left out 388,000 homes without power. Households without electric energy (388,675, or 12% of the total in the last census) will be left out of the government program to provide Q1,000 in subsidies to handle the COVID-19 pandemic (El Periodico – Spanish).


Colombia plans a solar pipeline. The Mining and Energy Planning Unit published that 341 solar projects have been approved or are being reviewed in Colombia (PV Magazine – English), including a pipeline of 9.47GW of solar projects reported as “underway” (PV-Tech – English). The project pipeline is more than half the 18.3GW across all energy sources.



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


Caribbean endemic black iguanas need urgent conservation measures. An endemic species of black iguana discovered in Saba and Montserrat is threatened by unsustainable harvesting, competition, and hybridization from invasive alien iguanas from South and Central America (Science Daily – English). Scientists are asking for urgent conservation measures.



Quote of the Week


“Toda obra, cualquiera que sea, literaria, política, científica, debe estar respaldada por una conducta.”


“All work, any of it, literary, political, scientific, should be backed by a conduct.”



– Miguel Ángel Asturias (1899-1974), was a Guatemalan writer, journalist, and diplomat.


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


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